SpeculativeFiction


The Bourne Supremacy


I was fairly disappointed in this adaptation. Ludlum is an author who excels at plotting, rather than writing style or characterization. While the first adaptation ("The Bourne Identity") tossed out a fair bit of the original plot, it also went to some lengths to avoid directly contradicting the book. With this movie they completely tossed out that principle, along with most of the original plot. What's left is a skeleton hanging from wires -- enough to hang the plot of a mediocre action movie on, but not enough to retain any of the good qualities from Ludlum's novel.


As a pure action movie, rather than an adaptation, it isn't bad. But it's not wonderful, either. The plot, without Ludlum's influence, doesn't hold together well; there are loose ends and unexplained elements all over the place. There are two car chase sequences, but neither one is all that great. There are two hand-to-hand sequences, and again, neither is exceptional; the camera work for the fight scenes in particular suffered by comparison to the first movie. But it's still a fairly high-gloss piece of action-adventure-espionage, and it's got a fair number of good moments.

One element they cover really, really well in this adaptation is the aspect of Bourne's training and skills that covers dealing with enemy opposition. In the novels, he's an infiltrator and saboteur; his skills are greatest in penetrating an organization, tracking it from the foot soldiers to the rear echelons, and then taking out the people in charge. Those skills are displayed to excellent effect. The way that Bourne systematically provokes a response, then analyzes the nature of that response to locate and identify the person running it, is an extremely accurate depiction of Bourne's methods as displayed in the first and third novels (but less so in the first movie).

But overall, if you're hoping for a good adaptation of the book, skip it. If you can stomach a decent, but not exceptional, action movie, then it's worth your money.

This entry was published Wed Oct 27 02:00:04 CDT 2004 by Matthew and last updated 2013-08-15 11:05:38.0.

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