Inquirer Libre August 31, 2007
The Bourne Ultimatum
Directed by Paul Greengrass
Starring Matt Damon, Julia Stiles
*** ½ (3½ stars)
Some things have just got to end. Like this guy, Jason Bourne, who’s been running around the globe for some years now trying to hide from people trying to kill him; he’s just, well, plain tired.
From the moment he gained consciousness inside a Russian fishing trawler in The Bourne Identity to the thrilling car chase in the streets of Moscow in The Bourne Supremacy, Jason Bourne (Matt Damon) never stopped hunting the specters of his fragmented memory. Quite literally he had fought his way, with his bare hands, to restore the humanity that was taken from him.
In the final chapter of the successful action franchise, Jason puts an end to the chases and the killings and finds his identity in The Bourne Ultimatum at last.
From Moscow, Bourne jumps to London to track down the source of a series of newspaper reports leaking the existence of the secret assassination program which Jason is the product of.
In the first nail-biting sequence in the movie, Jason escorts the reporter through a jam-packed Waterloo train station teeming with operatives of the Central Intelligence Agency.
This incident starts another deadly cat and mouse chase between Jason and the CIA in Paris, Madrid, and the rooftops of Tangier, Morocco, at all times with Jason surviving the attacks. His last clue brings him back to where it all started in New York, and a face-to-face confrontation with Dr. Hirsch (Albert Finney) would restore the conscience that was removed from his being.
Matt Damon isn’t your typical action movie star but he makes sense as Jason Bourne, especially with this last one. Where his Jason was an unreadable, robotic killing machine in parts 1 and 2, Damon (or is it credit to Paul Greengrass, who directed United 93?) makes this Jason pensive, vulnerable and even devastated.
Joan Allen and Julia Stiles reprise their roles (as Pamela Landy, one of CIA’s superiors and Nicky Parsons respectively), but this time on Jason’s side as they uncover the dirty little secrets that their organization hide. David Strathairn is the new bad guy as CIA Deputy Director Noah Vosen who has the simple role of getting rid of Jason in order to keep those secrets hidden.
Building up on the backstories and action set up by the first two movies, Ultimatum has the elements of the classic spy thriller, gripping its audience with an engaging lead character plus non-stop old-school style bone-crushing action scenes, particularly the car chases and the fist fights. The best part is not how realistic these stunts were done, but how suspenseful they are shot and edited together, for as long as the scene can last. With other action movies, the thrill always ends once the big explosion is done.
There is always something good to remember in a good movie. In this series, it’s Jason Bourne himself.