John Powell has exceptional range as a composer. He is the author of scores for such movies as Gigli, Shrek, and I Am Sam, as well as the pulse-pumping, adrenaline fueled music for the Bourne trilogy and X-Men: The Last Stand. Given the range with which Powell has shown himself to possess thus far, it is somewhat surprising that The Bourne Ultimatum feels somewhat flat and blase compared to his earlier works.
After composing memorably through-lines for the previous Bourne films, it's understandable that the thematic material might sound a tad worn, especially since these are movies that don't lend themselves very easily to a standout piece. I own the score for The Bourne Identity, and it is at the very least a dynamic, action-driven electronic/orchestral hybrid work that greatly underscores the tense action and intricate plotting. It easily stands on its own. The Bourne Ultimatum, by comparison, feels weak without the paired visuals to stimulate the imagination. In fact, it feels noticeably uninteresting at times.
Powell intersects previous thematic work from the first Bourne movie with some new counter-electronica that gives it a thumping, almost trance-like sound. The score, running long at almost an hour, is remarkably tame, having very few memorable tracks that recall the film's respective scenes to mind.
One that does make an impression, however, is "Tangiers." Fellow Bourne Blog Critics Reviewer Chris Beaumont agrees that it is the best track on the CD, with a violent syncopation that intensifies at each measure. This should prove to be the pulse-pounder of the soundtrack. "Waterloo" also successfully keeps the action stakes high and the listener interested.
On the flip side, "Man Versus Man" is a track laden with trite synth percussion and an inorganic melody that never coalesces into anything other than what could otherwise be a royalty-free track on a dime composer's demo reel. "Coming Home" is not bad--just unremarkable, and "Faces and Names" and "Thinking of Marie" both seek to bring the score down to a more personal level, with a remembrance of Bourne's assassinated love and his own fragmented memories of his recruitment into the agent program.
The penultimate track, "Jason Is Reborn," is a rehash of "Thinking of Marie"--in a different key--then progresses to the exciting driving theme that dominates the trilogy. Finally, Moby remixes the end title song "Extreme Ways" to produce a track that is patently Moby-ish, which isn't entirely a good thing.
File the score for The Bourne Supremacy under tired. Composer John Powell is much better than this implies. You're better off purchasing the first Bourne soundtrack and looking into his other work.