For the past three years, super CIA operative Jason Bourne (Matt Damon) has been looking for answers. Unsure of his true identity and purpose, he searches for the group that turned him into a killing machine. In the final film (perhaps) of this series, Bourne gets all the answers in the heart-pounding thriller, “The Bourne Ultimatum.”
Beginning with the opening scene and culminating with a stomach-turning climax, Bourne is on edge. The closer he gets to uncovering the film’s ultimate truth, the higher the stakes. His search for answers leads him across the globe with stops in Moscow, Madrid, Morocco and finally, Manhattan. Along the way, Bourne reconnects with trusted colleague Nicky Parsons (Julia Stiles), while beating down all who crosses his path.
He also engages in the year’s best action sequence involving a daring rooftop rescue culminating in an incredibly choreographed fight sequence that will leave you breathless. Armed with minimal resources, a working knowledge of his adversaries and an unbending will, Bourne is truly a man on a mission.
Led by a corrupt senior CIA official Noah Vosen (David Strathairn) covering up for his boss, Ezra Kramer (Scott Glenn), they classify Bourne as an “imminent threat” with the edict to shoot him on site. Bourne leads Vosen and his team on an intricate game of cat-and-mouse. The two are protecting a secret that threatens to blow the lid off of the intelligence community, if disclosed. His only “inside” ally is government official Pamela Landy (Joan Allen), who unearths his past and wants to bring him in and get him help.
Damon is perfectly cast as the everyman operative. Not gifted with an intimidating physique or possessing formidable physical gifts, he embodies his hero with steely determination and a laser-sharp focus. Whether using his fist or a book, Bourne is like a human terminator that will not stop until all of the bad guys are dead. But what makes him so appealing is that he uses his most important muscle, his brain, to stay two steps ahead of his foes.
Director Paul Greengrass’ (“The Bourne Supremacy” and “United 93”) jittery camera style packs each frame of this film with claustrophobic intensity, placing the audience directly in the heart of the action. With two books left in the series not written by the original Bourne author, Robert Ludlum, there’s speculation that the series could continue.
While not the perfect film, “The Bourne Ultimatum” is the perfect film for this or any other summer. Just what the summer movie season needed, a smart well-written, taut grown-up action thriller sans elaborate special effects.
The success of this franchise has even begun to affect other action movie heroes. Hollywood’s longest running action franchise’s latest film, “Casino Royale” was more “Bourne” than “Bond.” As this trilogy comes to a close, Bourne’s words become prophetic. “This is where it started and this is where it will end.” Amen to that brother Bourne, Amen!