Let me start off by saying I don’t think the Bourne series is the best action-spy franchise I’ve ever seen. I’ve never read any of the books. I wasn’t incredibly hyped up or expectant about seeing the third movie in the series. When I saw The Bourne Ultimatum today at the Eton Square Cinema, I was ready to take it at face value.
And at face value, The Bourne Ultimatum is a pretty good movie. The action scenes are arguably the best in the series. The plot is less convoluted and therefore less difficult to follow. The acting is consistently superb. And there’s some decent resolution to wrap the whole thing up. Really, it’s everything I could want from the third movie in a trilogy.
The Bourne Ultimatum doesn’t quite start where you would expect it – sometime after the end of the second movie. Do you remember the final scene of the second movie, where Jason Bourne is talking to Pamela Landy and finds out his real name and a couple other details of his identity? Well, it turns out there’s a lot more to that scene than there appeared to be. And that’s the thing about this movie. It’s definitely the continuation of a series. The action sequences can be enjoyed whether you’ve seen the previous two Bourne movies or not. But The Bourne Ultimatum just doesn’t recap the previous two movies enough for a person who hasn’t seen them to really enjoy the plot of this new movie.
However, this kind of plot continuity is a very good thing. In a summer filled with trilogies, having the third of any of them really make sense and add substantially to the previous two is a rare prize. The Bourne Ultimatum definitely achieves that. If it didn’t, it would be a huge failure. After all, the Bourne movies revolve around Jason Bourne’s attempts to add to his shattered memories. In this movie, more is added than Bourne ever lost, and thankfully, enough of it is made clear that movie-goers aren’t bewildered by the complex machinations of governmental conspiracies.
What really makes The Bourne Ultimatum a satisfying experience is the very high production value. All of the actors, major and minor parts, were very well cast. As we’ve come to expect, the movie took place in a series of exotic international locales. But what probably stood out most was the superb action scenes.
In The Bourne Ultimatum, action abounds. It really never lets up, from beginning to end. I can also enjoy the non-stop action guilt-free, because they didn’t force the plot to take a backseat to it. Rather, the action mirrors the intensity of the plot and is constantly pushing it to a resolution, an ultimatum. The now-popular shaky-camera technique is throughout the movie, just like the second one. Thankfully, it has been near-perfected. It shakes enough to add realism and intensity, but holds still just enough to see the coolest moves in a fight sequence or the gritty impact of a car crash. Also, Bourne’s no longer invincible. Throughout the movie, you’re never really sure if Bourne will win the fight or save the girl in time. There’s no doubt he’s tough, but it seems he might have met his match. The action is intense.
The Bourne Ultimatum has some pretty big shoes to fill. The last two movies were very popular and there are countless fans of the book series. In my opinion, The Bourne Ultimatum succeeds and outdoes its predecessors. It definitely earns its thumb’s up.