The Bourne Ultimatum (Universal, PG-13)

film_bourne_smKeeping track of the story really takes the passenger side to the kinetic action, elaborate chases, and gorgeous pan-European scenery. This time, it looks as though Jason might finally uncover the truth about his identity.

 

 

 

 

film_bourne

Watching what is stated to be the final installment of the Bourne series, we're reminded of what has proceeded us to this point. The series began with a solid popcorn flick, smarter than the last five Bond flicks put together, equipped with a zippy energy that never took itself too seriously from director Doug Liman (Go, Swingers). The series returned with a momentous jolt, void of the tongue-in-cheek nature of the original, where the stakes became higher and the action intensified. The Bourne Supremacy marked the third feature film of Paul Greengrass, who'd previously created a jarring, unsettling account of the infamous Irish massacre with Bloody Sunday. Supremacy seemed a strange follow-up for Greengrass but ended up exceeding his previous efforts in becoming a wildly chaotic, staggeringly intense follow-up to a relatively above-average espionage thriller.

The Bourne Ultimatum begins somewhere within the final moments of Supremacy as we learn, throwing us back into Greengrass' handheld camera world where Jason Bourne (Matt Damon) attempts to allude Russian police after the car chase of the previous installment. Greengrass never really eases us back into this world, which feels both effective and annoying. Between Bourne films, Greengrass directed United 93, a remarkable achievement of mood, density, and, above all, filmmaking, so his return to Jason Bourne was destined to either be a notable disappointment or the finest action film you might ever see. In considering the leap from Identity to Supremacy and United 93 to Ultimatum, the state of both the Bourne series and Greengrass' career becomes faulty, a disappointment of precedence and expectation.

In Ultimatum, a new suit (David Strathairn) targets Bourne and a British journalist (Paddy Considine) with an inside on Bourne's blurry past. Strathairn's aided with Pamela Landy (Joan Allen), who, after Supremacy, has become a Bourne sympathizer. When all signs point to a pair of FBI agents, Bourne embarks on the expected global pursuit, enlisting former Treadstone assistant Nicky (Julia Stiles) along for the ride. Like its predecessors, keeping track of the story really takes the passenger side to the kinetic action, elaborate chases, and gorgeous pan-European scenery. This time, it looks as though Jason might finally uncover the truth about his identity.

As Bourne leaves the scene of the car wreck in Russia, Greengrass brings us back to the familiar territories of Supremacy. The style's the same, the stakes are just as high, and the execution of primary characters seems eminent. Expecting what was unexpected from the previous film dilutes the potential thrills of Ultimatum as it abides by the same set of rules that so shocked us earlier. Ultimatum isn't the letdown I'm suggesting it might be, as Greengrass still implores a powerful eye and attention to suspense (a chase in the British Waterloo train station and a high pursuit in Tangiers are both rather astounding). Nevertheless, a fan of the director can't help but remark at the complacency that Greengrass displays here. Ultimatum is no Supremacy and surely no United 93. For the summer movie crowd, there's nothing wrong with The Bourne Ultimatum; in fact, it's probably the best of the third installments that the Hollywood franchises threw at us this year. Yet for those, like myself, who were smitten with Greengrass' first entry in the series, Ultimatum feels merely like the appendix to a truly great Hollywood film. | Joe Bowman

Be the first to comment

Leave a Reply