a critiQal film review The Bourne Ultimatum (2007)

Plot: Amnesia-suffering rogue agent Jason Bourne (Damon) comes out of hiding to meet with a reporter (Considine), who has been gathering information on Jason's past, including his ties to Treadstone. But the CIA isn't about to let bygones be bygones.

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  • ...seems like it would work as a standalone as well - but seeing the trilogy through enhances the experience to another degree.

Since I had the day off yesterday from work, I decided to check out Jason Bourne’s previous adventures again before watching his latest, The Bourne Ultimatum on DVD – just to reacquaint myself with what Bourne has gone through so far in and .

Since I enjoyed both of the previous films, would I find The Bourne Ultimatum to be the – pardon the pun – “ultimate” ending of the Bourne trilogy, or would I find it lacking?

Matt Damon is back once again as Jason Bourne. Looking a bit more the part than he did in the first film – thanks to a bit more muscle and a shorter army-style haircut – Damon again does a great job embodying the character. Ludlum’s Bourne isn’t just a commando, he’s a man, struggling to cope with his shady covert-ops past while trying to now do what’s right. As more and more of his memory becomes clearer, the less and less he wants to keep remembering – but he must, if he ever wants to finally put an end to that part of his life. As a reluctant warrior, Damon does a good job of showcasing both sides of the personality. At first, it seemed an odd casting choice to have Damon in this role, but he has managed to make it his own over the 3 films, but the reluctant warrior role turns out to fit him perfectly.

Julia Stiles is back again for The Bourne Ultimatum as well, in a much larger role than viewers would have assumed from the previous films. Last time viewers saw her character, she was cowering in a closet in a train station. Now, she’s back in Bourne’s path – and has suddenly decided he may not be wrong after all. While at first it seems she’s suffering a bit from the ol’ Stockholm Syndrome, it turns out their is a past between the two of them. Luckily, the director realizes Bourne is still suffering from the loss of Marie (Franka Potente, seen this time only in flashbacks) and doesn’t try for the idiotic hookup so many now expect after seeing too many cheesy action films. Instead, the two begin a tentative friendship as their paths are intertwined yet again.

Also reappearing for this third film is Joan Allen as an inside CIA higher-up, who still remembers what Bourne did to help her case in the previous film. This time around, she’s again up against opposition, however, this time in the form of Cooper’s replacement, David Strathairn, who’s character is running the show at CIA this time around. As the CIA becomes deeper and deeper involved, and Strathairn’s character is more and more intent on seeing Bourne dead – Allen’s character takes a chance on doing the right thing. The office politics between the two are played out through a series of intense sequences that help to strengthen the film as a whole – and make things interesting even when Bourne isn’t on screen.

While there was quite a time difference between the ending of and the beginning of , The Bourne Ultimatum picks up before the end of , backtracking a bit to showcase another flashback. While this may confuse viewers a bit at first, the film doesn’t forget the ending scenes of , and ties those in nicely while moving the plot forward. This overlap definitely helps The Bourne Ultimatum feel like a continuation of , rather than just another sequel.

This is partly due to Paul Greengrass, the director of , returning to direct The Bourne Ultimatum. While his style differs greatly from Doug Liman – the director of , viewers have already had an entire film to get used to the style change, and are more ready to accept that style when it shows in this third film. Having the same director back again – and the overlap with the second film – really helps this third film feel like a true part of the trilogy, rather than just another tossed together sequel.

By the time The Bourne Ultimatum rolled around, the filmmakers had already established a solid base of well-played characters and had built a solid Bourne fanbase. Thankfully, Paul Greengrass and crew didn’t let us down, and managed to bring a solid and satisfying ending to this trilogy. Even if you haven’t seen the previous 2 films, this film seems like it would work as a standalone as well – but seeing the trilogy through from beginning to end enhances the experience to another degree.

Unlike The Lord Of The Rings or The Matrix trilogies, the Bourne trilogy is excellent from beginning to end, and every film is a must-own.

Will there be another Bourne? Maybe. While the ending does leave an opening for another film – and Eric Lustbader has picked up Robert Ludlum’s story in print form, releasing 2 more Bourne novels – Matt Damon has already stated he won’t be back for another Bourne film. That should be the deal-killer, as nobody but James Bond is good at recovering from a cast change of that magnitude (even Star Trek changes characters) – but knowing Hollywood, another film is probably inevitable down the road. Let’s hope they come to their senses before another film is released – or Damon changes his mind. At this point, without Damon, there shouldn’t be another Bourne.

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