A refreshing alternative to the hypertrophied spy thrillers in which exaggerated action sequences, over-the-top super-villainy and high-tech gadgetry trump character and plot. Amnesiac assassin Jason Bourne (Matt Damon) and his girlfriend, Marie (Franka Potente), have been in hiding since Bourne press-ganged her into helping him piece together a series of fragmentary clues about his very scary past. Still uncertain who he really is — he's got half a dozen passports, each more convincing than the one before — and tormented by nightmares, Bourne has used his covert skills to keep them off the radar just in case his former colleagues decide to come calling. But their current idyll in Goa comes to a violent end when Bourne spots a stranger (Karl Urban) whose demeanor fairly screams "contract killer," at least to someone like Bourne. In the ensuing melee, Bourne loses Marie and resolves to find out who ordered the hit and make them pay. Meanwhile, in Berlin, a covert operation managed by veteran CIA agent Pamela Landy (Joan Allen) goes very wrong, leaving two agents dead and several million in U.S. government funds missing. A single fingerprint found at the scene leads to a CIA database attached to a project called Treadstone. Landy's security clearance doesn't begin to warrant access to the Treadstone files, but she won't rest until she finds out what's in them. Landy's investigation involves the theft of some $20 million in CIA funds, and her team was pursuing a rumor that the culprit was a CIA insider and that Russian oil tycoon Gretkov (Karel Roden) was somehow involved. Treadstone, she learns, was a super-secret black op shut down after rogue Jason Bourne stopped following orders and started thinking for himself. The fingerprint is Bourne's, and soon an international game of cat and mouse is on. Landy recruits Bourne's old contact, Nicolette (Julia Stiles), and former Treadstone bigwig Ward Abbott (Brian Cox) to help her trap Bourne, who's after both the mysterious assassin and whoever's responsible for framing him. All roads eventually converge in Berlin. Tony Gilroy's screenplay bears scant resemblance to Robert Ludlum's 1986 novel, the second installment in his Bourne trilogy, which involves a plot to plunge China into calamitous civil war. Paul Greengrass, taking over for BOURNE IDENTITY (2002) director Doug Liman, keeps the action believable and the tone briskly paranoid — the Cold War may be over, but espionage is still a chilly business.