The Bourne Ultimatum (2007)

Rating: ****
Review Date: 8/11/07
Director: Paul Greengrass
Fight Choreography: Jeff Imada
Cast: Matt Damon, David Strathairn, Joan Allen, Julia Stiles, Scott Glenn, Albert Finney

Jason Bourne's (Matt Damon) final outing is an explosive and well-paced globe-trotting free-for-all that brings everything full circle. It comes extremely close to being a perfect action picture, except that the jerky handheld camerawork is beyond annoying. There's no reason for the camera to spastically jiggle around when two people are sitting and having a civil conversation. It's just irritating and unreasonable. Anyway, after the events in "The Bourne Supremacy" (2004), Jason Bourne is still looking for answers to unlock the secrets of his fragmented memory. But as is so often the case, forgotten truths aren't pretty. Both Bourne and the CIA pick up a hot lead in the form of leaked top secret information regarding a project called "Blackbriar," and the chase is on to find the source of that information. Assisting Pamela Landy (Joan Allen) in the hunt for Bourne is Noah Vosen (extremely well cast David Strathairn), a hard-edged CIA official with connections to both Treadstone and Blackbriar. Agent Nicki Parsons (riveting Julia Stiles) also returns with some surprising (and unresolved) secrets of her own.

Like the other "Bourne" films, the plot becomes increasingly nonsensical and unbelievable, but the delivery and execution are so straight-forward and matter-of-fact that it's easy to dismiss the absurdities that the film continues to throw at you. Matt Damon once again delivers a solid and believable performance, and Julia Stiles nearly steals the show with her haunting portrayal of Agent Parsons. Joan Allen is great as the tough-as-nails Pamela Landy, and David Strathairn is utterly brilliant as Bourne's nemesis. Apart from the hyper-kinetic editing, the action scenes are well played and extremely well-paced. They do a great job of creating suspense and tension, and have an almost organic rhythm to them. The car chase in New York is delightful, and Jeff Imada orchestrates a brilliant hand-to-hand fight between Damon and Joey Ansah in Morocco. Again, the fight suffers from invasive editing, but you can still witness the craft that was involved. The soundtrack is instantly forgettable and only serves to set the pace of the action scenes. The film relies heavily on the previous two entries, and unfortunately revisits a couple of gags that don't play so well the second time around. Still, I found the film immensely enjoyable and satisfying.