Wednesday, August 15, 2007

THE BOURNE ULTIMATUM - bang, crash, wallop, shark, jump, vomit!

YOU HAVE NO IDEA WHO YOU ARE DEALING WITH!THE BOURNE ULTIMATUM is the third movie in the spy thriller franchise based on the Robert Ludlum novels, starring Matt Damon as the trained killer with amnesia and a grudge against the CIA.

The movie goes like this:

Bang! Crash! Wallop! Bourne is chased through Moscow, Waterloo station, Madrid, Tangier, NYC. He runs! He jumps! He punches the crap out of highly trained CIA goons! He smashes through glass! He deliberately crashes cars multiple times! He jumps off of tall buildings!

You admire visionary director Paul Greengrass' superlative hand-held camera-work and voyeuristic, slippery POV shots.

You get motion sickness.

Bourne utters the only cool line of dialogue in the movie.

David Straithern a.k.a. CIA evil baddie/rendition-lovin' neo-con says "We have a situation here" for the eighth time.

Bourne does something so incredible it renders the director's attempts at realism futile. You lose all faith in the franchise.

You go home.

Given the facetious tone of my review, I thought I'd bring you in on the thoughts of Matt Nelson: Offical Nice Guy & Human IMDB. (Minor spoiler in the final paragraph).

"Well now. The Bourne Ultimatum. Hmm…what can I say? It certainly has been a bad year for trilogies. You know, I’ve been trying to make up my mind about this movie for days. Did I enjoy it? Yes. Did I think it was anywhere near the standards of the previous two films? Hell no. Which is real shame because, other than Die Hard 4.0, this was the big summer blockbuster I was looking forward to most of all. I recall talking to a friend of mine a few months ago about the third Bourne film and he said: “It won’t be that good. I mean, where can they go with the character that they haven’t gone already?” He didn’t really know much about the Bourne films, so I labelled his “na├»ve” comments as ignorant and told him how strong I thought the franchise was going to continue to be. After all, the Bourne films were compelling, well acted, fast paced (yet not over the top) and (above all) fresh. Incredibly, he was proved more right than even he knows.

The story really didn’t explore any new territory and was only reasonably good filler for the action sequences. The wonderful Albert Finney was underused and, essentially, nothing more than replacement part for Brian Cox (man I love Brian Cox). It just seemed so lame, not to mention lazy, to hear that there was yet another bad guy “really” behind it all that you conveniently only now remember.

I agree with your comments about the style of shooting that Paul Greengrass incorporated during the picture. It was a brave move and, to give Greengrass his dues, worked well during the action sequences. However it was sometimes too much to take and I found myself hoping for just a little reprieve from all the jerking back and forth. Even during the slow, intimate scenes in small offices/motel rooms etc (which I didn’t feel merited the hand-held style of filming) the camera never stopped jerking in every direction – it was hard to see what was going on occasionally.

Also, I never felt like Bourne was ever really in danger. One of the great things about the previous instalments was that he got seriously injured when facing off against other skilled operatives and it wasn’t definite that he would walk away the victor. Yes he’s highly trained, and will probably come out on top, but he suffers for it. In this movie he just kicks ass and (I think) limps once off screen after a car crash.

Being fair, there were some great car chases and brutal fights scenes during the movie that did put a smile on my face. Then again, the car chases felt repetitive of the previous films and there seemed to be a few too many punch sound effects added during the fights sequences. And of course the cheesy ending didn’t help – no I’m not talking about where you see that he isn’t actually dead, I’m talking about the fact that everyone we’re meant to view as morally repugnant ends up being prosecuted for what they’ve done. Oh that’s nice and tidy then. Yawn anyone?

Overall I thought the film was enjoyable enough, but it should have been so much more.

THE BOURNE ULTIMATUM is on release in the US, Bahrain, Egypt, Hong Kong, Thailand, Indonesia, Latvia, Poland, Taiwan, the Philippines and the UK. It opens this weekend in Greece, Israel, Singapore, Brazil, Bulgaria, Denmark, Finland and Spain. It opens later in August in Iceland, Australia, New Zealand, Russia, Lithuania, Argentina, the Czech Republic, Slovakia and Estonia. THE BOURNE ULTIMATUM opens in Germany, Mexico and Turkey on September 7th; in Belgium, France, the Netherlands, Slovenia, Norway and Sweden on September 14th; in Portugal and South Korea on September 20th; in Malaysia on September 27th; in Serbia and Montenegro on October 11th; in Hungary on October 25th; in Italy on November 1st and in Japan on November 17th 2007.

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