Aug 12, 2007

Movie Review: The Bourne Ultimatum (2007)

After taking a leave of absence to shoot and promote some of my own indie flicks, this review marks the Great Return of Fletch to the world of movie reviews. Surely it comes to no surprise to any of you that I really dug this flick. After all, its an action movie. But it certainly isn’t mindless. While at times I had to put my thinking cap on, for the most part watching this movie was much like getting an incredibly awesome blowjob.

Following in the footsteps of two terrific Bourne films, The Bourne Ultimatum takes the top prize as the best of the trilogy.

Yes, Jason Bourne is back. And no, he still can’t remember shit. He’s still pissed off that his ugly girlfriend got killed, and he’s still seeking revenge on those responsible while simultaneously trying to figure out who the fuck he is and why he’s such a badass. Yes, this was also the plot for The Bourne Supremacy, but this time he actually gets somewhere with both the revenge and memory angle. As time goes on and the body counts rise, Bourne begins to unravel his painful past. But all this plot nonsense still takes a backburner to tons of ass-beatings, awesome car chases and phenomenal hand-to-hand combat sequences. You get everything you expect and then some from a Bourne movie, and I must say this has the most exciting car chase of all three flicks. There are lots of twists and turns (loved the scene where Bourne was in that CIA dude’s office) and even an interesting relationship subplot (between Bourne and Julia Stiles).

The acting is top notch as always, with Damon once again sinking his teeth into Bourne by taking the dead serious, dramatic approach. While other action heroes are busy spouting off cheesy one-liners, Damon’s communication is 90% nonverbal and much more engaging. In the supporting actor department, Joan Allen was the only one besides Damon that really did anything noticeable. Whenever she was on screen I was totally hooked to her character. Now while the other actors in the flick are all well-respected, they ultimately came off as kind of stiff and a bit one-dimensional. This includes Julia Stiles, Scott Glenn, Albert Finney and the always boring David Strathairn. But thankfully all these actors are backed with a strong screenplay that allows them to pack a dramatic punch when Bourne needs downtime.

My biggest complaint would be the same one I had for the last Bourne movie - the shaky cam. I’ve become a fan of Paul Greengrass over the years, and he had my vote at this year’s Oscars for United 93. But the dude seriously needs to buy a fucking tripod. Many of the action shots were ruined because everything was too shaky, and it was difficult to make out what was going on some of the time. He’s gotten a lot better at using this technique since the last Bourne flick, but he needs to just eliminate it altogether. Aesthetically speaking, the original Bourne Identity is the easiest to watch.

But despite all its shaky cam monstrosities, this flick is definitely the best of the Bourne bunch, and BY FAR the best three-quel of the summer. I hear that there are more Bourne books out there to be adapted but Damon wants to call it quits. I’d recommend stopping on a high note as well.

Grade: A-

Clint Fletcher is a filmmaker and film critic living in Nashville.

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