The Bourne Ultimatum

| August 3, 2007

Before I begin, I would like to pen a brief open letter to director of The Bourne Ultimatum, Paul Greengrass:
Dear Paul,
Hank Yuloff
It is always good to get that most important thing off one’s chest when doing a movie review. Helps you be a bit more objective. Which is important because I liked the third (and maybe final) chapter of the Bourne Trilogy (?): The Bourne Ultimatum.
In the continuing saga of Jason Bourne, we follow the former CIA agent throughout Europe and in this film, the New York city as he attempts to figure out who he really is and what the US Intelligence agency has done to him. His memory was originally lost in the first of the three movies when he failed to complete an assignment given to him and sustained severe body trauma. In the second movie, some memories came back. In this one, it appears that, with the unexpected help of a British reporter, he has enough of the puzzle pieced back together to lead him back to the training facility where his psyche was created. What I just told you would normally be considered a spoiler except that in the Warning (trailer) for this film, Bourne tells the station chief who is hunting him that he is in his office. All Bourne has wanted was to disappear. Instead he is being hunted by a variety of law enforcement professionals, all with weapons and superior grade hand to hand combat skills. It is thought that since he now remembers everything, he will blow the lid off of the CIA’s secret operations. What? They do not think he would remain loyal to the US? Just because they have spent two movies trying to kill him? Evidently, this just pisses him off so much he seeks answers to all those final questions which have haunted him.
Matt Damon once again plays Jason Bourne. He is not the same as Bond, James Bond but who could be? As an athletic specimen he is certainly the equal of most thriller heroes: Picture Rambo without the big gun, or The Rock at 5′ 9″ instead of 6’4″ or Vin Diesel (remember him?) with the ability to ACT. Not that there will be any “twisted, not stirred” lines from the Bourne series, but Damon does a good job with the “brain controlled killer/Terminator” part. He is joined once again by Julia Stiles who plays a non-field agent of CIA. Kind of like the sales support staff. For some inexplicable reason (or maybe it was edited out) she decides to help him and thereby puts herself into the same cross hairs for execution. They must have had something personal going on, but we may not know until the next edition.
Bourne is also helped by Pamela Landy (Joan Allen reprising her Bourne Supremacy role). Evidently since the last time we visited this world, the presidential administration of the United States has become something of a fascist do-whatever-you-must-to-protect-the-motherland-even-if-it-means-kill-United-States-citizens kind of organization and she “didn’t sign up for that.” Wow, what a stretch. It isn’t like anything like that could ever happen in a George Bush run America (see: warrantless wiretaps, water boarding, enemy combatant).
Let’s get back to that hand to hand combat. In this film, there is LOTS of it. Minute upon minute upon minute of it. And even more Hide and Go Seek between Bourne and the CIA “Assets” who are sent to kill him. My guess is that there are about 40 minutes out of 111 of this “shhhh be vewy vwey quiet, I’m hunting Bourne. He he he he he.” action. There are also constant flashbacks to the very beginning of Bourne’s training. Did I say constant? I meant CONSTANT. Now why am I mentioning this with a negative tone? Because most of it is shot in super close up, moment by moment cuts. It is enough to give you motion sickness. OR it was a way to save time in shooting. “We will fix it in post, add a lot of loud fist on face effects, and blur it enough so they can’t really tell what happens.”
All of this takes place in a race to the finish. Will Bourne discover who made him what he once was? Will he get the answers to that which he seeks? Will he escape death in comic book fashion in order to live another day and make The Bourne Once To Many Times To The Well? These questions I won’t answer for you. Go enjoy the ride, but sit towards the back of the theater so the effects and shooting style will not give you a headache.

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