A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this movie.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that The Bourne Supremacy, the second entry in the Matt Damon Bourne trilogy is filled with the same intense, dark, life-and-death struggles as the others. Gunfire, explosions, tense chases, bloody fights, narrow escapes, and disturbing flashbacks contribute to the steady suspense and action. Its fast pace and pulsing music keep the viewer on edge from beginning to end. The filmmakers keep the emotional stakes high as well, so there are some profoundly sad moments. There is occasional, mostly mild, cursing, and a brief scene shows a partially clothed pole dancer in a club.
What's the story?
In the first film, The Bourne Identity, Jason Bourne (Matt Damon) was rescued from the ocean, suffering from a gunshot wound and amnesia. He eventually learned that he's a spy, but he couldn't remember who was after him. Or why. He ended up with a girl he loved and the guarantee of being left alone to try to recover the rest of his lost memories and make some new and better ones. But in THE BOURNE SUPREMACY, someone's after him again. The CIA believes he was behind a recent assassination of two agents. CIA big shots Pamela Landry (Joan Allen) and Ward Abbott (Brian Cox), who knows more than he wants to tell, both try to track him down, though perhaps they have different purposes and goals. Bourne still remembers very little of what went on before he was fished out of the water. But now finding out is a matter of life or death.
Is it any good?
The Bourne Supremacy is a smooth thriller for grown-ups with lots of chase scenes and action scenes, but the mood is dark, even grim. The dialogue is smart but not smart-alecky. Instead of flashy fights where one dazzling kick to the throat knocks the bad guy out, the battles are messy and breathless and brutal. The chase scenes are like extreme bumper cars. And the primary pleasure is not some big triumph, just the fun of seeing smart people outsmarted.
Allen strides around in long, cool, black Matrix-style coats and Damon is nicely inexorable and relentless. Julia Stiles adds punch as Bourne's former liaison. She explains how the special operatives worked: "They don't make mistakes. They don't do random." When asked who is assigning Bourne's targets, she says, "Scary version? He is." Damon gets to do more action than acting, but delivers a good performance. And the last exchange of dialogue tops it all off nicely.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about how The Bourne Supremacy compares with the first film in the triolgy, The Bourne Identity. Is it as thrilling? How does Bourne grow or change from the first film to the second?
Abbott says, "Conklin had these guys wound so tight they had to bust." What are the risks of training an operative like Bourne? Or of not having one? What is the impact of stress on people?
Does the violence inThe Bourne Supremacy ever feel over the top? Is it exciting or gruesome? Which do you think it's intended to be? Why?
- In theaters: July 23, 2004
- On DVD or streaming: December 7, 2004
- Cast: Brian Cox, Franka Potente, Matt Damon
- Director: Paul Greengrass
- Studio: Universal Pictures
- Genre: Action/Adventure
- Topics: Adventures
- Run time: 90 minutes
- MPAA rating: PG-13
- MPAA explanation: violence and intense action, and brief language
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Common Sense Media's unbiased ratings are created by expert reviewers and aren't influenced by the product's creators or by any of our funders, affiliates, or partners.