Smart, adrenaline pumping, action-packed. All of which are good ways to describe the latest (and final) Jason Bourne film after a three year pause. With the titular character still looking for answers to his past, director Paul Greengrass helms this film again and is able to do what nobody else seemed to do this year: make The Bourne Ultimatum a better sequel and the only “threequel” completely worth seeing this year, mixing thinking with plenty of action.
Bourne (reprised by Matt Damon) starts off in Moscow, where he left him in 2004’s The Bourne Supremacy, but soon flees to Paris and tries to contact British journalism Simon Ross (Paddy Considine). Ross has been writing about Bourne with great detail and a hidden source, who Bourne believes to be the definitive link to finding out the truth to his past. However, with the former assassin having turned rogue, the CIA-manned by Noah Vosen (David Straithairn)-is hunting him down as a major threat.
Along the way, Bourne is helped by the returning Nicky Parsons (Julia Stiles), only to force the both of them to run from CIA-issued assassins. His brief flashbacks to his past persist but are more strung out, and with the truths uncovered by Bourne, it leads him back home to the United States to end it all.
Right from the start, you will get the feeling that you are a part of what is going on, something Greengrass has been able to do very well with the previous Bourne film and his acclaimed United 93. The use of handheld cameras can either make or break a film, but the way Greengrass uses them is simply stunning. There are scenes that will have you could have you on the edge of your seat in the “hot damn I can feel that” sort of way. For example, when Bourne is racing through Morrocco, the tightness of the shots make you think you could be jumping across rooftops. Or during the intense car chase throughout Manhattan (what’s a Bourne film without a good car chase, right?) when you have the sense of being smashed up in the car with him.
But with all of this comes a steady train of thought. Nothing throughout the film is mindless; you are constantly involved with not only the action, but what Bourne may do next. It does not, however, alienate those who are not the biggest fans of thinking during a movie. Should you want to be purely entertained, Ultimatum manages to still lure you in.
For those of you who have read Robert Ludlum’s original series of books, do not expect too much aside from the title to be comparable to the book. Ultimatum-along with the others-deviates far enough from the book’s storyline you’ll wonder how much thought they even put into adapting it. Still, it works very well for the film.
So even though descriptions like “action-packed” and “adrenaline-filled” may be overtly clich√©, there is no denying the quality of the film. If you have not seen the first two, it would be wise to do so before seeing this, and maybe even good for those who have, if only to remind yourself of what is going on. Regardless, The Bourne Ultimatum proves itself to be one of the best films of the summer, if not the year, in a time where the film industry slows down a bit before late fall.