The Bourne Ultimatum

There’s a reason that “The Bourne Ultimatum” had the highest August opening weekend in the states ever


Matt Damon, Joan Allen, Julia Stiles, David Strathairn, Paddy Considine

It’s pretty rare these days when you can look at a trilogy of films, and say that each one is equally good as each other. Most of them tend to have pretty major flaws in at least one of the installments, whether it’s the original “Star Wars” trilogy (you know you hated the Ewoks in “Jedi”), The “Ocean’s” trilogy being bludgeoned to death by “12”, or even with something like the final leg stumbling of “The Godfather” series – it’s refreshing from just having seen the final Jason Bourne flick, “The Bourne Ultimatum” that I can say it’s as close to a perfect trilogy as you’re likely to see, in terms of story, acting, writing, direction – whatever you want to nail it down to, James Bond & Batman both owe a big thanks to the work of Doug Liman, Paul Greengrass, Tony Gilroy, Matt Damon and the combined casts of “Identity”, “Supremacy” & “Ultimatum”.

Picking up a few weeks after the events of “The Bourne Supremacy”, Jason Bourne (Damon) is still on the run from the U.S. Government (who still want him dead for some reason….. could be because he’s killed most of their colleagues) – and at the same time in London, journalist Simon Ross (Paddy Considine) is getting closer to uncovering the truth behind “Treadstone”, the project that gave birth to Bourne, and a new operation with the code name “Blackbriar”. Inevitably their paths cross in an extremely tense game of hide & seek at Waterloo station, but after narrowly escaping once again, the still amnesia bound Bourne is no closer to remembering anything from his past.

Meanwhile, on the side of the “good guys”, Ezra Kramer (Scott Glenn) is directing a team of CIA / NSA folks including the returning Pamela Landy (Joan Allen), and the new head honcho, Noah Vosen (David Strathairn), as they attempt to track down Bourne – each for very different reasons. As per the usual “Bourne” fare, Noah is convinced that Bourne is an immediate threat to god & country, and is determined to stop him before he can get to Simon’s source. With the help of Nicky Parsons (Julia Stiles), Jason may just be able to track down and discover the entire truth of who he is, and how he became the man he is now – and it involves one mysterious man (Albert Finney) who may hold the key to unlocking his past for good.

OK, so that’s the basics in a nutshell, and everything else is what you’ve come to expect from this series – lots of gunplay, lots of car chases & plenty of ass kicking. As expected by this point, the cast is as solid as you’re likely to see in anything on the big screen, Damon has the part completely nailed; Joan Allen & Julia Stiles both find themselves with more to do in the final outing (and handle the extra attention well); David Strathairn is great as Noah (as always, the guy can’t do any wrong at this point); Albert Finney is nice & slimy as the man who keeps appearing in Bourne’s flashbacks; and even though Scott Glenn isn’t in the flick for the longest time, it’s still great to see him up on the screen.

The great thing about these films is that even through Doug Liman’s reported troubles with the studio on “Identity” & the transition to a new director with Greengrass, the “Bourne” flicks have always had a great sense of flow & continuity – whether it’s Chris Cooper coming back for flashes in “Supremacy”, Franka Potente coming back for flashes in this one, Brian Cox, Joan Allen, Stiles – right down to the background players who have been there for each film – they’ve built a great franchise here, and should be proud of it.

If I had to level one complaint at this time out, it would have to be the opening to the flick – right from the get go, Bourne is on the run from the police in Moscow – obviously injured & tired, he narrowly evades swarms of cops by jumping from a train, and breaking into a Doctor’s office, where he starts patching himself up – there’s another quick altercation with the local constabulary, and then the film jumps forward 5 or 6 weeks. I’m sitting in the audience thinking – “Ooookkkkkaaaayyyy, so that has nothing to do with the rest of the film?” And as it turns out, I would be right – I’m sure much smarter people than myself will be able to work this out on their own, but if you’re anything like myself – let me explain it to you: Remember in “Supremacy” when Damon goes to the daughter of his first target to apologize to her in Russia? Apparently the scene that starts off “Ultimatum” is set between that moment, and when Bourne gets to New York at the end of the last film. *cough* It’s just….. well, for me, it’s an odd way to start off a new installment with what amounts to being a deleted scene from the last film.

But anyhow – without a doubt, there’s a reason that “The Bourne Ultimatum” had the highest August opening weekend in the states ever – because it’s a fantastic film, and it’s one of those flicks that you have to see on the big screen to take it all in – check it out.

Rating :
Reviewer : Adam Weeks