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Aug. 6, 2007

"Bourne" to be wild

by Jon Kesten, Online Foreign Desk Editor
With superb cinematography and action sequences, "The Bourne Ultimatum," basically a two hour chase and fight scene, leaves the viewer feeling like an innocent bystander witnessing some of the most top secret events in the world. The heart-pounding action makes up for the movie's extremely thin plot, allowing "Bourne" to deliver for its third and final time.

Once again, Jason Bourne (Matt Damon), an assassin brainwashed by the CIA, finds himself in several major cities around the world, running from the organization that created him. Bourne does all of this while simultaneously trying to remember his identity and outsmarting and eliminating his enemies with martial-art-like charisma. America was first introduced to Bourne as an aimlessly wandering man who wound up in the middle of the ocean after a failed assassination attempt. Throughout the first two movies in the trilogy, Bourne slowly pieces his former life back together, finding trust in a German woman (who is now dead) and discovering his skills in many fields ranging from multilingualism to sharp-shooting and combat.
Matt Damon as Jason Bourne in the final installment of the Bourne trilogy. 

<i>Photo Courtesy of Universal Pictures</i>
Matt Damon as Jason Bourne in the final installment of the Bourne trilogy. Photo Courtesy of Universal Pictures

In the third and alleged last film of the Bourne series, the story picks up right where it left off in the "Bourne Supremacy," leaving some questions unanswered. Considering that most of this movie consists of chase scenes and Bourne beating up the typical pair of European police forces with no mercy, the thin plot develops extremely slowly. The film turns into just a collection of exactly what the audience pays to see the fighting and chasing.

As for the action aspect, an array of onomatopoeia and superb camera direction used in one of the many fight scenes make the action truly top notch. Director Paul Greengrass puts on a showcase of beautiful disasters ranging from cars falling off roof tops to Bourne leaping from building to building. The cameramen especially deserve their share of the respect; whether Bourne jumps out of a window or rides a motorcycle up a two-story building, it is because of their work that the audience feels so close to the action. It seems as though the fast moving camera work is signature to the Bourne fight scenes and gives the audience their money's worth.

Damon, 36, surprisingly keeps his youth and claims he did most of the stunts. Also, his near relationship with 26-year-old Julia Stiles, who plays Nikky Parsons, seems possible despite the 10-year difference. Damon keeps his cool and is no stranger to the rouge assassin role that he has played in the previous Bourne films.

Parsons, a rebel CIA operative who worked to find Bourne in previous films under the code name "Treadstone," is back in the third installment. But she is quickly deemed a nuisance by Bourne and leaves the picture because of the obvious high-stress, on-the-run situation the two are faced with.

Stiles's attempt to portray a strong, independent woman is not only shattered by her idle and helpless nature when Bourne is in danger, but is also overshadowed by Pamela Landy (Joan Allen), a CIA operative formerly in charge of Treadstone. Landy seeks reason rather than execution when dealing with Bourne and is forced to contradict her superior Noah Vosen (David Strathairn), who blindly wants to kill Bourne.

The bottom line is that the audience expects to see a gripping action film, regardless of how cute Damon and Stiles can be. Greengrass and his camera crew deserve wondrous praise and appreciation for bringing top-notch action to the final Bourne movie and propelling the film, despite its thinly stretched plot.

"The Bourne Ultimatum" is Rated PG-13 for violence and intense sequences of action. It is now playing in theaters everywhere.

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  • Blazer on August 9, 2007 at 12:05 AM
    I was trying to decide whether to see this and this review really helped. Thanks Jon!
  • KYJurisDoctor (View Email) on August 9, 2007 at 10:21 AM
    Bourne is America's Bond, but unlike Bond who loves to shoot 'em up, Bourne loves instead to beat 'em up with his fists, kicks, the rest of his body and his "stolen" cars. I love Bourne's action scenes better.

  • omg on August 9, 2007 at 11:13 PM
    megan fox is soo hot
  • Blazer on August 12, 2007 at 12:50 AM
    Megan Fox isn't even in this movie. That was transformers.

    but yeah
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