By Amy Lamare, August 4, 2007
It is highly unusual for a sequel to pack as much fun, thrills and excitement into its allotted 2 hours as the original film did. It is even more unusual for each film in a series to get progressively better, more fun, more thrilling, more exciting. But that is exactly what has happened with the release of The Bourne Ultimatum (BORN3), the third flick in Matt Damon’s (MDAMO) very successful Bourne trilogy. The key, of course to the mounting excitement rolling through the first two films and on into the third is that our protagonist, Jason Bourne, has never found what he was seeking – his identity.
One of the signatures of the Bourne series is its setting and how vividly it uses the cities it moves through to aid and enhance the action. The Bourne Ultimatum follows in this precedent moving from Moscow to Turin to Paris, London, Madrid to Tangier to Morocco and finally to NYC where Bourne infiltrates the CIA’s black ops Manhattan headquarters.
Director Paul Greengrass (PAULG) who also helmed 2004’s Bourne Supremacy keeps audiences on the edges of their seats with the fast paced narrative and includes the audience in the hunt for Bourne’s true identity. And isn’t that where the success of these films lies? We, the audience, are right there with Bourne never knowing more or less than he does, and therefore as invested as he is in the hunt for his identity.
David Strathairn (DSTRA) plays the head of the CIA’s black ops division, which has changed its name from Treadstone to Blackbriar. He favors quick and total elimination of Bourne. Joan Allen (JALLE), his sidekick in black ops covertness, wants to bring Bourne in alive. She developed a certain fondness for him in Supremacy. Meanwhile, Bourne himself treads the line between coherence and madness with flashbacks to the day he was stripped of his true identity and turned into a killing machine. Too bad they forgot to strip him of his conscious while they were making him into the perfect assassin, eh?
Bourne is determined to find out who he was in this film. To that end he meets up with a journalist in London, played by Paddy Considine (PCONS) who has certain information about Bourne’s career heretofore unknown to him. But ooops, those pesky CIA mandated assassins are on his trail again and he and Considine go on the run. One of the very cool things the filmmakers do in The Bourne Ultimatum is truly show for the first time the extensive surveillance camera system in place in London. The CIA uses the system to track Bourne through the city.
Once they lose the latest assassin, Bourne tracks the source of Considine’s info to Madrid, where he meets up with CIA/Treadstone Operative Julia Stiles (JSTIL). She’s on his side now as she wants out of the CIA, wants a real life and knows Bourne has the skills to get them both out from under the crooked black ops division.
Resolution to the central issue of all three films-Who was Jason Bourne before he handed his life over to the CIA – proves ultimately very satisfying. Without question Matt Damon is Jason Bourne in much the same way that Sean Connery (SCONN) is James Bond and Harrison Ford (HFORD) is Indiana Jones. It is his signature role. And one he has been highly enjoyable to watch playing through three films over seven years.
The Bourne Ultimatum is a fun, action packed, smart, cool film that packs every scene and every shot with adrenaline pumping excitement.
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