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The Bourne Ultimatum

The Bourne Ultimatum

Genre: Action
Rated: PG-13
Directed by:
Paul Greengrass
Matt Damon, Joan Allen, David Strathairn, Julia Stiles, Scott Glenn, Albert Finney
Released by: Universal Pictures

In Short: The Bourne Ultimatum is pure popcorn: muscular, nonstop and easily the best action film of the summer.

Spy vs. Spy vs. Spy
Bourne Again, Thankfully
by Andrew Bender

Things I learned while watching The Bourne Ultimatum:

1. If a guy’s really, really tough and drives like a New York cabbie, he can run away on foot after multiple, split-second car crashes.

2. There are scheming backstabbers in the CIA.

3. Whatever you think of London’s video surveillance system, the way it works is pretty darn cool.

4. The best hit men have great stubble. The best of the best are also Moroccan.

5. Jason Bourne cannot be stopped.

The Bourne Ultimatum is pure popcorn in the best possible sense: magnificent car crashes, heart-stopping fight scenes, ingenious plot twists, the alluring locales of Europe, North Africa and New York City, and a throbbing soundtrack. It’s director Paul Greengrass’ second Bourne movie and the third in the series based on Robert Ludlum novels. Here, Greengrass shows off the talent that earned him so much acclaim for United 93.

The Bourne Ultimatum
Matt Damon as Jason Bourne

In this installment, Jason Bourne (Matt Damon) is plagued by streaky flashbacks of being tortured, including simulated drowning. Meanwhile, in real life he’s being chased by assassins working for same CIA that trained him, controlled by Noah Vosen (David Strathairn), all part of a secret operation code-named Blackbriar. The pursuit goes into hyper-drive when Pam Landy (Joan Allen) appears on the scene as a no-nonsense station chief.

The Bourne Identity
Julia Stiles in the Bourne Identity

Oliver Wood’s cinematography rivets with steely grays, jump cuts and hand-held close-ups, and Christopher Rouse’s editing is so taut that you may miss a plot point if you avert your eyes, even for a second. The action scenes—particularly the chase in London’s Waterloo station and hand-to-hand combat with a Moroccan hit man—deserve to be studied by film students for generations.

Fans of the series will be intrigued by the intricacies of the plot and the story of how Bourne became Bourne, and unlike so many other action films these days, the movie’s effects actually enhance the story. But even on effects alone, this is one thrilling ride.


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