Aug 3, 2007

The Bourne Ultimatum

Rating: 7.62mm / 9mm

Saw this one yesterday afternoon, but Sunshine pissed me off so much I had to write that review first.

Wow, Jason Bourne sure can kick your ass. He's just a walkin, talkin, ass-kicking machine. That may wear a little thin at times, but the pounding action in The Bourne Ultimatum still rocks. While it's not as involving or interesting as the series' first entry (The Bourne Identity), it is generally a better and more exciting film than The Bourne Supremacy.

One particularly aspect of the movie was irritating as hell, though, and I should mention it early for those prone to motion sickness. Like Supremacy, this film is directed by Paul Greengrass, and he continues the tradition of using speed addicts with Parkinson's Disease as cameramen for his action shots. Okay, maybe not, but if you told me the camera was tied to a stray dog and Matt Damon wore special bacon undergarments, I wouldn't call you a liar. Seriously, it gets pretty wiggy. Please, Hollywood, spare us the Blair Witch-o-Vision; it's fucking annoying.

That said, the rest of the film is pretty solid, with some real crowd-pleasing moments involving both action and humor.

A little bit of unintentional humor does make its way in, though.

Julia Stiles, returning as CIA operative Nicky Parsons, has about the least covert hair in Morocco. Seriously, she looks like someone poured soft-serve vanilla-chocolate swirl ice cream on her head and let it dry. It's not exactly tough for the bad guys to spot the white girl with badly streaked 80's hair in a street scene full of North Africans.

My fellow geeks will likely be amused by the utter ignorance of how computers (and particularly firewalls) actually work, but it's pretty much a law in Hollywood that no screenwriter can have even a passing familiarity with computer operations or terminology, but must rather pick his terms out of a hat.

As in previous Bourne films, the acting is top-notch for an action film. Matt Damon is as good as ever as a Jason Bourne trying to outwit the CIA while tracking down his real identity. David Strathairn is enjoyably hateable as the obligatory treacherous CIA douchebag and Joan Allen is good as his foil. Her role is expanded and broadened somewhat compared to Supremacy.

The only real issues I had with the acting were the performances of Julia Stiles and Albert Finney. Stiles just doesn't do it for me, sorry. She is wooden and uninteresting, easily overmatched by her aforementioned hair. Finney, a personal favorite of mine, looks distractingly unwell and I felt my concern for his health took me right out of the movie. At one point, he is threatened and shoved a bit by Matt Damon and I wanted to yell, "Careful, man! Jesus, he could fall and break a hip!"

My other problem with the film was the score. It's not that it was bad; on the contrary, it was pretty decent. But 111 minutes of ticking time bomb music gets a little nerve wracking.

If you love the Bourne movies for their car chases, fights, and Bourne generally outfoxing everybody before kicking the living shit out of them, then you are not likely to be disappointed. The movie isn't exactly deep, but it is tight and tense and it works.

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