The Ultimate Bourne
So with the brilliant "The Bourne Identity" and the equally impressive sequel "The Bourne Supremacy" along rolls Matt Damon as Jason Bourne in the third movie in the series, "The Bourne Ultimatum". The good news is that it is as good as its predecessors full of intrigue, intensity, action, adrenalin and delivering a continuation to the storyline which has been built up masterfully in the first two movies. But the bad news, it still suffers from those minor gripes that affected parts 1 & 2, but they are minor in what has turned out to be an impressive third movie.
"The Bourne Ultimatum" pretty much picks up where "The Bourne Supremacy" left off with Jason Bourne (Matt Damon - Ocean's Thirteen) still struggling to remember exactly who he is and even more determined to find out why he is still getting so much attention from the U.S. Government.
Despite a gap between shooting "The Bourne Supremacy" and "The Bourne Ultimatum" it really does feel like a continuation of the story, even like the next chapter rather than a separate movie. Straight away it throws us into the thick of it pretty much where the last movie left off and if we needed a reminder shows us what to expect with an opening action sequence full of adrenalin and intensity. It's a great way to open the movie and it never lets up mixing the intensity of the plot with globe trotting action from start to finish. What this does mean is that this time round you really can't watch "The Bourne Ultimatum" without having seen both of the previous movies as there is plenty of interlinking which would be otherwise confusing.
As we have come to expect "The Bourne Ultimatum" whilst an action packed movie and it certainly has its share of chase scene and fights, still manages to deliver a well thought out storyline which is shrouded in government conspiracy and duplicity. It could have been really easy to make a mess of this third movie by making the storyline too convoluted but with the introduction of new twists, a catalyst in the form of a British journalist and more deception it is still magnificent causing you to be drawn into what is happening.
Without spoiling things, and to be honest "The Bourne Supremacy" pretty much alluded to this, Bourne has a new ally in the shape of Pamela Landy and this makes all the government skulduggery more interesting because she is caught up in the centre of it. It works and makes the storyline feel more than just a rehash of the previous movie especially as there is still the strong element of Jason Bourne trying to discover his background and how he became such a killing machine. It's not just the Pamela Landy element which provides an extra layer and the character of Nicolette is actually more pivotal this time round, although I still have issues over Julia Stiles in the role.
Now whilst I absolutely loved the movie there is something which I did question and that is the globe trotting exploits. This time round Bourne must visit at least 5 different countries, often featuring an action sequence in each. Indeed the action sequence set here in London is nice to watch as it's easy to relate to. But I do wonder whether all these globe trotting exploits were manufactured to broaden the appeal of the Bourne franchise to a global market. That maybe a little cynical and I did enjoy the various action such as the stunning chase sequence across the roof tops in Tangiers but something just didn't feel quite right.
As in the previous movies Matt Damon is brilliant as Jason Bourne, completely convincing as someone who has basically been brain washed into being a killing machine, yet human because of the amnesia. There is a nice balance in Damon's performance that makes him threatening due to his apparent coldness and calculated actions, yet he also manages to deliver a tender moment with out breaking character just by delivering a stare a second longer than you would expect. It's the fact that Damon makes Bourne feel so convincing and likeable that we get so drawn into the movie.
As already mention Joan Allen returns as Pamela Landy and carries on delivering the great performance from the previous movie. But this time round her character provides more intrigue as she is stuck in the middle of a government conspiracy and finds herself at odds with her colleagues and superiors. Plus this time round we have David Strathairn providing the menacing government agent intent on bring Bourne down because he is such a threat. It's another good performance full of frenetic energy that makes the character intriguing.
But again the casting has issues and as already mentioned Julia Stiles is yet again both disappointing and unconvincing as Nicolette 'Nicky' the government worker. I don't know what it is but even this time round where she has more to do she still doesn't feel like a believable character. But Stiles is not the only issue and Albert Finney who is cast as Dr. Albert Hirsch for some strange reason seems to be trying to mimic Brian Cox's performance as Ward Abbott in the previous movies. It makes his performance feel a little uneasy because of the comparisons.
Paul Greengrass continues taking the directional helm and again does a superb job of making "The Bourne Ultimatum" both action packed but also intriguing. But again the shaky camera work cause a little niggle as at times it makes things a little too frenetic and confusing. But then what he does elsewhere with the use of camera angles, close up and long distance shots as well as the use of shadows really helps ramp up the tension to boiling point when the big ending arrives.
What this all boils down to is that as the third movie in the series "The Bourne Ultimatum" is as good as what went before. It provides the continuation of an intriguing storyline which never becomes tiresome thanks to all the government duplicity and stills packs in some unbelievable action sequences which remain realistic. Matt Damon is still impressive and although there are gripes with a couple of other performances it is otherwise another stunning movie. With a currently unnamed Bourne movie in the pipeline I honestly can't wait for the fourth movie in this impressive series.