Sunday, August 12, 2007

The Bourne Ultimatum

I finally got to see The Bourne Ultimatum today. I tried to see it last Sunday but the 10:50 am showing was SOLD OUT! Thwarted. Drats! Small wonder that the pic pulled in over $70 million its first weekend. The reviews I read were lukewarm at best--but that apparently didn't faze the movie-going public. Nor should it have.

The critics are idiots.

The third installment of the Bourne series is as taut and tense and action-packed as the first two. The film timeline actually picks up BEFORE the ending of The Bourne Supremacy and moves the story of Jason Bourne's search for his identity and what turned him into a mindless killing machine at a dizzying pace. From Moscow to London to Madrid to Morocco--hunting for clues to his past all the while being hunted by the very people who "created" him.

It all comes full circle at the beginning of the third act--Jason Bourne is back on American soil and close to finishing it all as he comes back to where it all began for him. I became more impressed with Damon's work after watching his amazing performances in The Departed and The Good Shepherd last year. He's really come into his own over the last couple of years and I netflixed the first two of the Bourne series in preparation for The Bourne Ultimatum. I haven't been disappointed.

Underlying the action sequences which range from adrenaline pumping to brutally gritty, is the tension of a psychological identity crisis. In the first film, when the amnesiac Jason first sets off on his journey to find out who he is, you get a sense that he's not just a stranger in a strange land. He's a stranger to himself without a past, a family, a country, a home. He's no-one, unknown, lost and alone.

Ultimatum also deftly tips its hat to its predecessors--a mini-bike chase scene recalls the Mini-Cooper chase scene of the original, Nicki (Julia Stiles) cutting and dying her hair and going undercover and on the run just like Marie (Franka Potente) in the first installment--and even the very end of the movie bookends the trilogy evoking imagery from the beginning of the series.

Ultimately Ultimatum is a fitting end (Damon says he won't be doing another) to the franchise. Filled with explosions, frenetic chase scenes, things crashing and smashing, hand-to-hand combat, chaos and mayhem--it was awesome! I can't decide whether this movie or the fourth Die Hard was my favorite action flick of the summer. Maybe I'll have to see both again to decide...

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