The Bourne Supremacy (2004)

Oh, c’mon — he gets shot? And he gets into a car chase? In the snow? Never mind the abuse the car takes rushing through snowy Russian streets — at what point does Jason Bourne bleed to death?

It takes some effort to suspend your belief while watching the big, ending action scene of The Bourne Supremacy. Of course, the movie’s star, Matt Damon, likened action movies to porno films, which themselves require some suspension of belief. (Oh my God … he can’t possible do that! Oh my God … he is!)

But the movie’s predecessor, The Bourne Identity, didn’t indulge in as much exaggeration. Sure, it was tough to believe Bourne could scale a building on a winter day in Germany with just a sweater for warmth — I mean, it’s got to be cold up there, right?

And yet The Bourne Identity seemed classier. The action was flashy, no doubt, but the story pit trained killer against trained killer. It was a more level-headed kind of violence, if such a thing were possible.

In The Bourne Supremacy, Jason Bourne is haunted by memories manifesting as bad dreams. He can’t piece it together. On the other side of the world, someone is making him the patsy for a CIA transaction gone south. What results is one big game of telephone — everyone mistakes everyone else’s motives, and only the audience is clued in on the big picture.

It’s not as alluring a plot as watching Bourne slowly discover who he is.

Gay Friend-Drinking Buddy and I had a disagreement on who was hotter — Matt Damon or Ben Affleck. This debate happened in 1997, when both mens’ careers were taking off.

I sided with Affleck based on the strength of Chasing Amy, while he sided with Damon based on the barechested scene in The Rainmaker. I hate to admit it, but Damon is the hotter of the two now.

That inherent, boyish dignity gives his Bourne a contrast from the efficient fighter he is.

The bad guys, this time, couldn’t be drawn any flatter. Are all Russians gangsters? Because between Law & Order and post-Cold War action films, I don’t think Russians are painted as anything but gangsters. And the notion of an agency bigwig trying to cover up his complicity is so 20 years ago — it would have been more plausible if the orders came from the White House itself.

The Bourne Supremacy is still a nice, indulgent piece of entertainment. It’s not as good as The Bourne Identity, but Matt Damon is easy on the eyes. So unplug your belief and enjoy.