The Bourne Ultimatum
Look Matt, you can’t help it if Ben chose to do things like “Gigli”. That’s his problem.

Golden Mug

Editing (Christopher Rouse)
Sound (Scott Millan, David Parker, Kirk Francis)

Director (Paul Greengrass)
Score (John Powell)

Theatrical Release Date: 08/03/2007
Director: Paul Greengrass
Cast: Matt Damon, David Strathairn, Julia Stiles, Joan Allen, Albert Finney,
Scott Glenn, Paddy Considine

Perhaps my most anticipated film of the year, “The Bourne Ultimatum”, has finally arrived and it could scarcely have been more satisfying.

Picking right up, minutes after the last film ended, this film sets the tension level on high and rarely lets go.

If you haven’t seen the other two films, don’t go walking into this one. You need the back-story and the depth of knowledge and emotional connectivity to fully appreciate this latest installment.

Usually, I might knock a film for not being able to relay the pertinent information in order for new fans of the series to understand the plot points but I love that director Paul Greengrass and crew aimed this film at people who had seen the first two films and, even more importantly, this film is aimed at adults.

Every film this summer has been aimed at kids, wanting to have the widest possible demographic in search of the almighty dollar/yen/shekel. With “The Bourne Ultimatum”, the filmmakers have decided that adults deserve an intelligent film that doesn’t pander to the lowest common denominator or worry about including all of the relevant cliché elements that will appeal to everyone.

The performances of the cast are superb. Damon is once again the perfect killing machine, not only demonstrating ridiculously impressive hand-to-hand fighting skills and the vehicular mastery of a Dale Earnhardt / Terminator hybrid, but his ability to stay one step ahead of his pursuers is so entertaining to watch that more than a few times, I understood the audience’s need to applaud.

Back for another round are Joan Allen and Julia Stiles. While Allen’s excellent performance is no surprise, it was absolutely refreshing to see Stiles’ character fleshed out a little bit more and she provides that sense of heart to the film that had been shot in the back of the head in the last film.

Greengrass’ ability to use practical stunt work in lieu of the more en vogue CG work displayed in all the other big-budget extravaganzas is yet another element that raises “The Bourne Ultimatum” above its competitors.

Sure, I don’t have a particular fondness for his constant use of a claustrophobic action camera but it is effective. The action is frenetic and somewhat unpredictable because you aren’t often able to get a glimpse of the scene from a wide enough angle. This lends a visceral component to everything that further immerses the audience in the film. You feel like you’re being brought along with Bourne as he attempts to reach his goal.

As has been the policy of the last two films, Bourne gets at least one opportunity to go mano-a-mano with another high-caliber operative and the fight in this film is pretty fantastic. While there may not be anything quite so graphic as a ballpoint pen in the hand, let’s just say that I never knew that the phrase “hit the books” could be so much fun to watch.

Another element of the film that I give major credit to the screenwriter and director for is their ability to weave this film into the previous film’s timeline. As you’ll see when you watch the film, some of the events from the last installment are directly related to this one and this provided an unexpected bonus, creating a sense of continuity and flow to the films.

If you’re a fan of the series, I’m sure you weren’t waiting for my approval on this. If you’ve somehow missed the earlier films and are a fan of action/espionage films, do not stop and proceed directly to your local video store or online rental portal and watch the first two films. Then plop down your ten bucks and get into the theater.

This has shaped up to be one of the most fulfilling summer blockbuster seasons in a long time, and if this marks the last tent-pole film of the season, it could not have gone out with a bigger bang.

While it may be partially due to the adrenaline still running thought my veins, I’d like to say that “The Bourne Ultimatum” is perhaps the finest franchise ending film ever made and I’m going to award it a 5 out of 5.

There were a few things here and there that I might have tweaked or tightened up but for its ability to deliver both a sense of closure and a desire for more, all under high expectations, I’d feel a little ashamed to give it the same rating as “Live Free or Die Hard“.

This is the best blockbuster movie of the summer and I cannot wait to have all three on DVD at home so I can enjoy them all in one slick, sense-jarring and thought-provoking afternoon.