THE BOURNE ULTIMATUM Electrifying Saga Goes Back to the Birth of Bourne
[view trailer] IN A SUMMER of three-quels that have been marked by disappointing follow ups such as Spiderman, Pirates of the Caribbean, and Shrek 3 that have failed to live up to expectations, The Bourne Ultimatum stands out as the best of the bunch, a totally satisfying piece of theatrical entertainment that shouldn't be missed. Director Paul Greengrass (Bourne Supremacy, United 93) and his top-notch cast led by a mature, focused, and kick ass Matt Damon who is Bourne again, and David Strathairn, Joan Allen, and Julia Stiles as strong support, deliver a smart and fast-paced thrill ride from start to finish that, I am pleased to say, is even better than the first two.
This, the third and supposedly final chapter in the trilogy based on Robert Ludlum's series of spy novels, brings Jason Bourne's saga full circle in his search to solve the mystery and uncover the truth about his true identity.
For three years, the CIA super assassin with amnesia has been trying to find out who he really is while fighting off those who want him dead. Constantly on the run, the last film ended with Bourne winding up in India with his girlfriend Maria. In this film's opening we learn that Maria was killed by an assassin's bullet meant for Bourne, leading him to seek revenge and more determined than ever to get to the bottom of why, what, and how he became a killing machine.
A clue pops up when Bourne reads a newspaper story written by a British investigative reporter named Simon Ross (Paddy Considine) that reveals information about a top secret black ops CIA program, Operation Blackbriar, in which Bourne's name is attached.
Back in Langley, VA CIA counter terrorist operations chef Noah Vosen (Straithairn) who uses the most sophisticated surveillance devices to listen to and track those he deems a threat to national security is alarmed and afraid that the secret program he is a part of is about to be exposed. According to Vosen whose M.O. is "kill first, no need to question before," he has all the information he needs to make Ross and Bourne a target for his hit list. Vosen sends an "asset," the code name for assassin, to silence the reporter and stop Bourne from learning the seedy truth about his past.
Bourne isn't alone in helping to fend off his adversaries. On his side is CIA logistics operative, Nicki Parsons (Julia Stiles) whom he meets up with in Madrid, and sympathetic CIA internal investigator Pamela Landy (Joan Allen) who defies Vosen's ruthless, illegal tactics and takes it upon herself to help Bourne.
That's the basic gist of the plot without giving it all away. What makes this an exceptional thriller is everything. The Bourne Ultimatum has all the right ingredients that make this the best, most exciting, spy thriller I have seen in a long time. James Bond has nothing on Jason Bourne, believe me, and 007 filmmakers could learn a thing or two about making the perfect film of this genre. Bond may have his high-tech gadgets, but Bourne has the brains and is more resourceful with hand skills that enable him to hotwire any vehicle or motorcycle and get it started for a needed getaway.
Director Paul Greengrass really knows how to draw you into the action and keep you on the edge of your seat. Rather than distracting, John Powell's perfectly suited pulsating soundtrack that accompanies each action sequences helps to enhance the exhilarating effect and antes up the tension.
The film opens in Moscow but unravels as a whirlwind adventure filled with international intrigue, suspense and lots and lots of chase scenes that unfolds as Bourne travels to London, Madrid, Tangier, Italy, Paris and the city "where it all started for Bourne, and where it had to end," New York.
My heart was pounding watching the adrenaline-driven action sequences that don't let up. In trying to connect with Ross, a meeting is set up at a crowded London train station in which Vosen's "asset" is ready to intercede. But, Bourne knowing what's in store, and being one step ahead of the game, skillfully maneuvers his way around, weaving through hurried passersby using every trick he has mastered to evade the surveillance cameras that are hot on his trail. It is amazing piece of intricate choreography and precision filmmaking from Greengrass, a man who knows how to build intensity and keep it going throughout the story.
He takes it up a notch with Bourne's foot chase through crowded streets of Tangier, on to stairways, over rooftops, crashing through windows and into occupied apartments, that ends with an extended hand-to-hand combat like no other between Bourne and the assassin sent to take him out. It's fast, it's furious and shot in such a way as to make us, the viewers feel like we are right with him experiencing every punch, slap, jab and crash. This should give you a hint about the car chases ending in crashes and/or explosions in which, Bourne being practically invincible, manages to always survive with minor scratches. Hey, this is an awesome movie, so I choose to ignore this one flaw that depends on suspending belief considering the extent of the horrendous pile up in which no one would have been able to come out alive.
What matters is that I was taken on an intelligent espionage adventure filled with all the right stuff that movies are supposed to provide. Just weeks before another three-quel, Jackie Chan's Rush Hour 3 is released, The Bourne Ultimatum delivers a splendid conclusion to the franchise that you can easily call a very satisfying Two Hour Rush.
The above article is the opinion of the author and not necessarily the opinion of Vegas Community Online, its editors/publishers, and/or other Vegas Community Online columnists. VCO respects the right of each author to express their opinion. If you have an opposing viewpoint or would like to send feedback on any article, please send email to firstname.lastname@example.org; state the title of the article and your comments. VCO reserves the right to add any submissions to its feedback page.