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The Bourne Ultimatum 
Stars: Matt Damon, Joan Allen, Julia Stiles, David Strathairn, Scott Glenn and Albert Finney
Director: Paul Greengrass
Scriptwriters: Scott Z. Burns, George Nolfi and Tony Gilroy (adapted from the Robert Ludlum novels)
Music: John Powell
Universal Pictures
Rating: PG 13
Running Length: 112 minutes

Will the third installment of the Jason Bourne series get us any closer to the truth of who he really is? In The Bourne Ultimatum we find more of the same questions and fewer surprises. But for fans of the series this one is as action packed and high strung as ever. I had a desire when I saw the Bourne Identity for this character to become the new Bond. It was and is a great concept. Where James Bond is old, slow and kind of greasy, Bourne is young, quick and deeper than any Bond past or present. Granted the two don't need to be compared but I wanted to do it, so I did.

It will help if you have seen the first two Bourne films but if you have not this one gives you the facts fast and furious in the first few moments. I was a little worried because it seemed to start slow and bind up with flashbacks. I had no reason to fret because this soon took off and didn't stop for 100 minutes or so. Bourne (Matt Damon) is still trying to find the truth of his existence while the government tries to keep him from uncovering secrets. So nothing new in this one. Bourne is still running and outwitting the entire CIA staff. Hard to believe? Sure. But we have bought less plausible things from Hollywood. Cars turning into robots and a guy with a web that shoots out of his wrists to name a couple.

I will say the one annoying thing about this film was the decision to save money on the budget and go with the cameras without the internal stabilizer.

The faster the action on screen the shakier the camera work. I understand their artistic thought on this but it was beyond distracting and made the action have less of an impact. We love the fact that Bourne can kill anyone with a normal household object (remember the rolled up paper in the last film) so let us see it more clearly. You almost wonder if the camera work and clipped editing was to cover up for bad stunt work. I guess we will never know.

Bottom line, if you liked the first two films you will love this one even more. If you even remotely disliked the first two you will hate this one with a passion. Its lack of anything original will undoubtedly put off many viewers. It is rated PG-13 for violence and non stop action. There are plenty of fight scenes and car chases and gun battles but without the gore and blood splatters of most action films. The language is mild and barring a few expletives and some liberties with the creator of the universe, safe for all. In fact, there isn't much dialogue period. Most scenes involve Bourne running through the streets of foreign lands with the CIA on his trail. I still have to give it 3.5 out of 5 assets. I have always liked the Bourne character and look forward to more of the story. Just be sure you know before you go. I'm Matt Mungle

The Mungle (08/02/07)

Matt is a member of the North Texas Film Critics Association (NTFCA) and hosts the weekly syndicated Indie Rock Radio Show Spin 180. Plus with his wife Cindy they do a weekly radio feature, The Mungles on Movies. For additional reviews and interview clips visit the website

Matt Damon took the persona of the-spy-without-a-memory and made it his own for two films. Jason Bourne was introduced to film fans in The Bourne Identity (2002) and in 2005 with The Bourne Supremacy. In each film, Jason Bourne was a methodical, almost mechanical killer who wanted to find his true identity. It seems as though some government agency (guess who) had a secret OPS going on and Jason has a part of it. The films were adapted from Robert Ludlum novels.

In 2007, the trilogy ends with The Bourne Ultimatum. Damon is back as Jason Bourne with Julia Stiles as Nikki, a sympathetic agent; Joan Allen as Pam, a senior agent; David Strathairn who is trying to bring Bourne in; Scott Glenn as David's superior and Albert Finney as a top-notch psychiatrist skilled in mind control. The story, such as it is, takes Jason across the European continent until he comes to the USA, all the while trying to find his identity. This guy has persistence and leaves a string of bodies behind him as long as the exhaust from James Bond's Aston-Martin. The chase scenes are spectacular and reminiscent of Bruce Willis's character John McClane and HIS car chases. Oh, wouldn't that be a film to team Jason Bourne with John McClane? All either of them needs is a gun and a car.

As Jason Bourne gets closer to the U.S., former foes start giving him useful information. Why? For one thing, so he won't shoot them and for another, there is a certain disillusion by now. This is featured in the fight scenes. They are carefully choreographed so that Matt Damon seems to be doing intricate dance steps as he clops one baddie here and kicks another one there. Rough tango. Women don't have anything to do but look worried and some guys talk too much while others barely say a word. 

I had a headache by the time 2/3 of the film was over from John Powell's incessant sound track. Prolonged minutes of rat-a-tat-a-tat percussion during a car chase is overkill. We get the message. Also, there is sloppy espionage work going on here. Anyone who has a secret and is afraid of being killed, automatically stands in front of an open window. Also, the one person with a secret is also the one who can walk out of a room with everyone else looking in another direction, plus when a person is told to hide, they will walk out into the street in broad daylight and look around. Is this supposed to be when the pursuers stop for coffee?

Stunts are excellent and these include several chases through buildings, over rooftops, Jason driving a stolen police car and Jason driving any car. Here is an example, "Sir, he just drove off the top of the building." Never give this guy keys to anything.

I personally found The Bourne Ultimatum interesting for the first half, and by that time the music was repetitious and you could figure out what was going to happen. The spark that was in the first two films has considerably dimmed here. However, you don't have time to take a breath while watching this movie. It poses questions on the ethics of government agencies, but then, what spy film doesn't? The three films would make quite an evening of entertainment, but don't drive your car after watching them. 

Copyright 2007 Marie Asner
Submitted 8/5/07



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