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THE BOURNE ULTIMATUM
U.S. Release Date: August 3, 2007
Distributor: Universal
Director: Paul Greengrass
Writer: Tony Gilroy, George Nolfi, Scott Z. Burns
Producer: Patrick Crowley, Doug Liman (executive), Frank Marshall
Composer: John Powell
Cast: Matt Damon, Julia Stiles, David Strathairn, Scott Glenn, Paddy Considine, Albert Finney, Joan Allen
Running Time: 1 hour and 51 minutes
MPAA Rating: PG-13 (violence and intense sequences of action)

Third Bourne Satisfies
by Scott Holleran

Neither as taut nor as intelligent as the 2002 original, The Bourne Identity, and an improvement over the 2004 sequel, The Bourne Supremacy, director Paul Greengrass's The Bourne Ultimatum pieces together plenty of well-earned thrills. Matt Damon returns as Jason Bourne—not his real name, revealed in the previous installment as David Webb—and he's still stoic.

He is also more purposeful, trying to solve the riddle of the government program that spawned his lethal Bourne identity. He learns that a British reporter may have stumbled onto the source of the secretive Treadstone assassin training program—called Blackbriar—and Bourne sets out to find whomever trained him to kill and spike this unfinished business (let's hope this B-movie does exactly that).

Going up against David Strathairn as Noah, a top-ranked officer who holds that the ends justify the means, Bourne's mission takes him around the world one more time. Joining the action for another round are Joan Allen as Pam Landy, who asserts herself in opposition to Noah, and Julia Stiles as Nicky, a small supporting role expanded way beyond its original limits. The cast also includes Scott Glenn, Paddy Considine and Albert Finney.

They all try to come across amid the hand-held, jerky camera style for which director Greengrass has become known. Cuts are faster than ever—count to three and the picture usually changes. Many times you will not make it to one. Cuts sometimes come so quickly that it's difficult to discern what is happening on the screen.

Bourne flips, flops and rolls into forceful fights, chasing an assassin who's chasing Nicky—to fine effect—and outsmarting the Straithairn character in the movie's exciting climax. Along the way, Bourne's bond—sealed in The Bourne Supremacy—with Pam Landy comes into play and the picture's latter half includes a few detours that lead to an appealing and gratifying conclusion.

The Bourne Ultimatum's general theme to hold government's power in check is loosely applied and there is enough of a coherent plot to compensate for the completely disorienting visuals. There are flaws, such as Bourne's virtually omniscient capacity to know store exits in advance—and connections are often cryptic.

But, as with The Bourne Identity, Jason Bourne's journey, which holds no ultimatum, generally moves and matters in this third entry. Matt Damon keeps the half-man, half-automaton relatively realistic, registering facial expressions and delivering lines like a cold, hard upper-cut, and his Bourne ultimately reverts to a solitary silhouette.


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