Jordan Canning says the The Bourne Ultimatum action scenes will leave your plot-following attention span in the dust.
The latest installment of the Bourne franchise picks up right where the second film left off—with an injured Jason Bourne out-limping a dozen or so cops through the streets of Moscow, his mind full of flashbacks of his mysterious beginnings and blurry faces of the people that made him into the deadly weapon he is today.
When a young Russian cop catches him by surprise, Bourne—gun raised—chooses to let him go.
This struggle is played out repeatedly in the film: Bourne, hired-gun-turned-pacifist, won’t kill unless it’s absolutely necessary. His assassin days are in his past, and his past is precisely what he’s after.
The CIA is up to their old tricks, secretly taking over the world in the name of freedom and pre-emptive security. In this exaggerated (or frighteningly accurate, depending on how jaded you are) post-9/11 world, Operation Blackbriar is in effect. It is the Patriot Act on speed, where no one is safe, and the CIA has license to kill anyone they choose at any time.
Headed by the mad-with-power Noah Vosen (David Strathairn) and the somewhat superfluous Ezra Kramer (Scott Glenn), Blackbriar holds the key to Bourne’s past, and Bourne sets out to, once and for all, discover his true identity.
Joan Allen returns as the ball-busting Pamela Landy, the only voice of reason against Vosen’s carte blanche tactics.
With the help of “assets”—or, “hot pieces of assets” as I like to call the international hunks the CIA recruits to do their dirty work—and a far-fetched global tracking system that manages to find anyone, anywhere in the world within seconds, Vosen has his sights set on Bourne. And he doesn’t care who he takes down in the crossfire.
But, as always, Bourne is two, four, maybe six steps ahead of them at every turn. I was just waiting for him to stick out his tongue and sing “nananana-booboo.”
But that’s what we love about Jason Bourne—he kicks ass. Hard.
Paul Greengrass—who directed The Bourne Supremacy, along with some lesser known triumphs United 93 and Bloody Sunday—returns with his tell-tale handheld camera and choppy cutting style. This adds a frantic intensity to the film overall, but during some of the fight scenes you may find yourself squinting at the screen trying to figure out who just roundhouse-kicked who.
But as he proved with The Bourne Supremacy, Greengrass knows how to shoot a mind-blowing action sequence, and this film truly cements his talents as a great director of the genre. Motorbikes tearing through the crowded back alleys of Tangier, rooftop pursuits on foot, a car chase that rivals the last film’s incredible taxi chase through Moscow… all, remarkably, created without the help of computer-generated imagery.
While the film has an abundance of heart racing thrills and spills, the dialogue and characters often fall flat. Vosen is unremarkable as the one-dimensional villain, and what he lacks in scruples he makes up for in mediocre, often laughable, comic book lines like “People, we have a situation.”
The twist at the end didn’t feel like much of a reveal at all, and left me with furrowed brow thinking, “well, duh.” But, truth be told, you’ll be buzzing so much from the preceding car chase that you might not even notice the ending.
Is it a masterpiece? Hardly. Is it worth the ticket price? Hells yes! This movie delivers some of the best action sequences I’ve seen since…well, the last Bourne movie.
Definitely merits a trip to the theatres.
You can catch The Bourne Ultimatum at Avalon Mall’s Empire Studio 12 or at the Mount Pearl Shopping Centre. Visit the Empire Theatres website for accurate showtime information.