This marks the fourth in our ten post series examining some of the best Eskrima fight scenes out of Hollywood. Each article will analyze and explain the roots of Filipino Martial Arts in a different movie sequence. The list of the top ten scenes is compiled here: In The Pen is Mightier we met the character Jason Bourne as portrayed by Matt Damon, and investigated a Kali based combat sequence from The Bourne Identity. Today we will take a closer look at the trilogy’s middle unit, The Bourne Supremacy. The clip in question is listed as number seven at the above link.
This film picks up on a recovering Jason Bourne as he attempts to leave his violent past behind and begin anew with his girlfriend Marie. Shortly after the opening credits Marie is murdered by an assassin out of Treadstone, and the chameleon finds himself on the hunt again. Chasing the truth across Europe he tracks down a former co-worker living in Germany. Like Bourne this man is exceedingly well trained, extremely dangerous, and programmed for survival.
There is palpable tension between the men as Bourne forces Jarda to zip tie his own wrists at gunpoint. The two move about the bungalow as Bourne questions his prisoner, neither breaking eye contact for an instant. In an interview included in The Bourne Supremacy’s special features, Director Paul Greengrass admitted that the intent was to let the audience know the two men would be capable of killing each other very quickly.
It becomes clear when the phone rings that both men have practised Eskrima for fitness. Although there was little animosity between them ’till that point and Jarda appeared to be co-operative, his finely honed reflexes react independently. Bourne turned his head toward the noise, distracted for a fraction of a second, and Jarda strikes without thinking.
The fight is a desperate struggle from the start, and both men sprint until the very end. Rather than attempt to throw awkward punches Jarda uses the binding on his wrists to his advantage, unleashing a combination of brutal elbows and following up with a lethal chokehold. He escapes by smashing Jarda up against the walls and furniture, utilizing his surroundings in the same way an Eskrimador would use the rocks and trees of the jungle. Despite his efforts, once freed Bourne finds himself facing a long kitchen knife, and the Eskrima stick and knife techniques begin to fly.
Top Eskrima Fight # 7: The Bourne Supremacy
While Jarda frees his hands after a flurry of punches and push kick from Bourne, Jason seizes the closest weapon he can find; a magazine which he rolls into a tight tube. Although the magazine may not seem dangerous, it adds reach to a fighter’s arm and allows them to strike with unyielding force, making most Eskrima stick techniques possible. He demonstrates this swiftly by smacking Jarda in the face and managing to disarm him. The combatants lock up for an instant, grappling for position and driving merciless knee strikes into each other.
Jarda gains the advantage and traps Bourne in an improvised garrote made from wire cord. However Jarda’s exhaustion causes him to commit two fatal errors – he allows Bourne to stay on top, and to get close enough to reach his face. In an instant he stuns his opponent and reverses the garrote. As Jarda claws for Jason’s eyes in his dying moments, we realize that a single mistake made the difference between these two killers.