The Bourne Ultimatum, the third installment in the Bourne series based on Robert Ludlum‘s novel, is an eye peeling, edge of your seat action romp that leaves the audience feeling like they ran around chasing Jason Bourne through the streets.
A mysterious man meets with reporter Simon Ross to bring to light top secret government programs. Ross (Paddy Considine) also runs stories about Jason Bourne (Matt Damon). Bourne realizes that Ross may have answers to his questions. Bourne sets up a meeting with Ross to discuss how Ross comes by his information. After avoiding the bad guys, a series of decisions leaves Bourne alone again, but this time, with Ross’s notes. He follows the notes where they take him. While Bourne is with Ross, government bad guy Noah Vosen (David Strathairn) is trying to find out who is leaking top secret information. He is willing to do anything to find and kill the leak. Agent Nicky Parsons (Julia Stiles) gets stuck in the middle. There are explosions, fights, scenes in Morocco, and clever out-maneuvering.
The Bourne Ultimatum is stuffed like road kill with outstanding action sequences. Stunt coordinator Dan Bradley, fight choreographer Nick Chopping, and assistant fight coordinator Jonathan Eusebio should be incredibly proud of their creation. Their work, so much more than the director, makes this film such a spectacle to watch. The fights look like if the actors were just one millisecond off, they’d be toast. The fists, the feet, and the improvised weapons were flying. The scenes in Morocco are dazzling; roof to patio, through windows, and through unsuspecting stranger’s homes. Dan Bradley has got to be proud of the chase scenes using cars in different and surprising ways. I would be dismayed to shun the actors in the movie, but the stunt actors should be as praised as the face actors in The Bourne Ultimatum. The stunt people, the stunt coordinators, and the fight coordinators deserve nothing less than a perfect score. They put the up in this shoot-em-up!
The sound in the movie is also special. Christopher Assells, the sound effects editor, editing gives the fight scenes credibility. Either director Paul Greengrass or Assells made the brilliant decision to make the fights sans music. That coupled with the outstanding foley in the beautifully choreographed fight scenes make the audience unable to look away, yet afraid to look!
Matt Damon is an action hero when he steps into Jason Bourne’s skin. I was surprised by the depth of the plot and a good deal of my surprise was due to Damon’s acting. How do you make a person who can’t remember why he’s fighting so adamant about the fight without making him a fighting zombie? Damon does it with such precision. He gives Bourne a rich depth of character for a character who can’t remember his past.
The supporting cast is fine. I wish I could say more. Their scripts are dull and can sometimes be downright cheesy. David Strathairn is unfortunately saddled with the worst character in the movie, evil-in-charge-agent-man, Noah Vosen. The character uses so many cheese-log-esque lines, I wonder if the writers, Tony Gilroy, Scott Z. Burns, and George Nolfi actually read his lines out loud. Was the director there when Strathairn was saying the lines? While they may be accurate to what a person in his position might actually say, it feels trite. The best supporting character, in my opinion, is the asset at the end of the movie.
Even with the moments of eye-rolling cliché, I liked the story. I often have movies endings figured out fifteen minutes in, especially in spy-action movies, but I didn’t figure out the ending before the reveal in The Bourne Ultimatum.
The Bourne Ultimatum should not be missed in the theater; it would lose a great deal of the splendor and spectacle if you waited for DVD. This movie is worth the cost of admission.