There were a lot of sequels this summer, some of which were highly publicized (like this movie, Spider-Man 3, etc.), and some that I had no idea about (like Ocean’s Thirteen). But none of these sequels struck a chord like The Bourne Ultimatum. Not only was it arguably the best sequel among the host released this summer, but it’s the best “threequel” that hit this summer, blowing the rest away. This movie not only capped off what’s been a brilliant film series, but it left the door open for more (though, personally, I’d rather see this installment be the last). Matt Damon once again excels infront of the camera and director Paul Greengrass beautifully executes from behind, both talents coming together to bring an exciting and undeniably intense action film.
All he wanted was to disappear. Instead, Jason Bourne (Damon) is now hunted by the people who made him what he is. Having lost his memory and the one person he loved, Bourne has only one objective: to go back to the beginning and find out who he was. Now, Bourne will hunt down his past in order to find a future. He must travel from Moscow, Paris and London to Tangier and New York City as he continues his quest to uncover the truth behind his mysterious past – all the while trying to out-maneuver a new generation of highly-trained assassins as well as the relentless CIA operatives who will stop at nothing to prevent him from learning his true identity.
In the follow-up to 2002’s The Bourne Identity and 2004’s The Bourne Supremacy, The Bourne Ultimatum picks up where we last left Jason Bourne. And, much like the last sequel, things get moving mighty quickly. And it goes without saying that this is a thrilling conclusion to what’s been a spectacular trilogy. And there’s a lot going on here, too. Outside of the amazing action sequences, which seem to have been perfected in this movie, there’s also a lot going on. Nothing is downplayed or glossed over, but there’s so much going on here that it truly feels like an adult action movie. And no, I don’t mean “adult movie” in the way you’re likely thinking, but “adult movie” as in…well…a movie for adults. It’s intelligent and never plays down for the audience. It expects you to actually pay attention for t he entire duration, something films rarely do nowadays. There’s so much information flowing across the screen, so many plots going on, but Greengrass is able to make it all move without a bump.
In this film, everything is exposed here. And while it may seem like there’s a lot of information, it’s the easiest of the Bourne films to follow. The premise is simple, yet intelligent. Not once does Greengrass go for the easy road and make this just a dumb action film (something we saw plenty of this summer). Every action has a motivation behind it, and every action leads to another, and another, and so on. This film definitely wraps up all the plot lines dangling from the two previous films, and does it marvelously. And, if I can get ahead of myself for a second, the final frame is the perfect way to end it. For those who have been watching this franchise since day one, the movie’s finale definitely brings the series full circle, and it’s also a smart visual choice on Greengrass’s part.
And the action! Like I mentioned once or twice already, the action is top-notch across the board. Whether it’s the car chase or the amazing rooftop pursuit ending in Bourne crashing throw a window (which in itself leads directly into another actions sequence), the Bourne films have never shied away from intense actions sequences, and this is no different. In fact, I’d have to say this is likely the most action-packed of all the films, and Greengrass seems to have perfected the “handi-cam” style he uses to document these scenes. And while the “handi-cam” can get a bit aggravating when trying to make out what’s happening, I think it works for the Bourne films and adds an extra layer of realism to the proceedings.
Action films don’t have to be mindless spectacles, and Greengrass proves that over and over with The Bourne Ultimatum. Likely the best installment of the trilogy, The Bourne Ultimatum is a great film to watch, high quality, and can be watched on it’s own quite easily (as there is a fair amount of exposition), but watching it as apart of the Bourne Trilogy is just that much more rewarding.
So, is the DVD itself rewarding? Sort of. Well, it goes without saying that the audio and video are top-notch across the board. The audio is loud and bombastic and the video is sharp and clear. A great transfer for a standard DVD release. The extras are not too bad either, but a shade underwhelming considering the extras listed. The extras include an informative feature commentary by Greengrass and Damon, about 12 minutes of Deleted Scenes, a featurette chronicling the hectic nature of making such a movie, and four featurettes which basically look at stunt work from different angles, like choreography, camera work, and both fight training and preparation for the car chase. Like I said, it sounds like a lot, but it seems to be not as informative as I’d like, but worth watching nonetheless. It’s a nice collection of extras, overall.
One of the best films of last year, The Bourne Ultimatum not only redefines the action-film genre, but perfects it as well. Toss on some good, though not as in-depth as I’d hope, featurettes and we have a DVD package that’s easily Recommended. Even if it was a bare-bones release, I’d still recommend the DVD release based on the movie alone. It’s just an excellent film that never talks down, and keeps you both thoroughly engaged and also firmly placed on the edge of your seat.
The Bourne Ultimatum is now available on DVD and HD-DVD.