The Bourne Ultimatum (2007)
The Bourne Ultimatum (2007)

Genre: Action and Spy Running Time: 1 hr. 55 min.

Release Date: August 3rd, 2007 MPAA Rating: PG-13

Director: Paul Greengrass Actors: Matt Damon, Julia Stiles, David Strathairn, Scott Glenn, Paddy Considine, Edgar Ramirez, Albert Finney, Joan Allen, Daniel Bruhl, Joey Ansah




lthough Jason Bourne (Matt Damon) has an uncanny way of maneuvering across all sorts of countries and territories – avoiding detection, apprehension, or prosecution (even when injured) – he’s given the usual, daunting pursuit in Moscow, Russia. But this pursuance – like so many others – ends in a quick moment of disarming a police officer, followed by disappearing into the city like a ghost. Six weeks later, he’s still in the wind.

Having exposed a dirty section chief (Brian Cox) in the previous film, Bourne is still trying to piece together his fragmented past and his involvement in top-secret mission “Treadstone.” Solving the case of his first, forgotten assassination assignment only produces further questions, particularly with the situation surrounding his recruitment into the black ops group he worked for prior to the accident that caused his amnesia. Meanwhile, security correspondent Simon Ross (Paddy Considine) becomes the target of overreaching surveillance; chief Noah Vosen (David Strathairn) and supervisor Ezra Kramer (Scott Glenn) preside over various divisions of intercontinental/interagency tracking; and Paz (Edgar Ramirez) takes the spot as the go-to hitman asset. And Pamela Landy (Joan Allen) and Nicky Parsons (Julia Stiles) return as unusually cooperative government employees, willing to listen to Bourne’s side of the story.

While some of the players have changed – with an anti-terrorism task force hunting for a mole to replace (with little difference) internal fraud or botched political gambits – the basic concepts and storyline are about the same. A particular individual eludes CIA capture, and that evasion somehow relates to Bourne’s past, thereby orchestrating his inextricable link to some super secretive operation destined to make numerous officials and government agencies appear as corrupt as they really are. And Bourne must solve the case before the antagonists can catch up to him.

All the while, chases ensue, designed to be lengthier, more complex, and more destructive than before. Most of “The Bourne Ultimatum” resembles everything seen in the previous two movies, but with a focus on intensification and grandiosity. This uncreative repetition can only swindle the untrained eye, however, especially when Parsons gets a hair cut and dye, or when a high-speed pursuit finds a car careened up onto a concrete barrier – exactly as witnessed earlier in the series. The frenetic editing (and overuse of handheld camerawork) is still just as annoyingly distracting, the superiors shouting generic commands at lackeys more frequent than ever, and the snippets of flashbacks comparably unrelenting in their ability to spontaneously invent extra backstory for Bourne’s identity and plight. But all the complications have negligible impact on the primary purpose, which is to give audiences an alternative to the over-the-top gadgetry and femme fatales and flamboyant stunts of James Bond (at least, the Pierce Brosnan stretch). Bourne remains incontestably immersed in a more grounded realism, even if he’s impervious to serious harm … and original ideas.

– Mike Massie

  • 4/10