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September 3, 2007 | by  | in Film |
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The Bourne Ultimatum

As far as blockbuster action films go, I’m a bit of a pretentious tosser and tend to write them off as entertainment for inferior minds. However, there is such thing as an excellent action thriller, and the Bourne movies fall squarely into this category. The third instalment, The Bourne Ultimatum, picks up our hero Jason Bourne (Matt Damon) where we left him on a rampage in Moscow. This time, Bourne seeks to uncover once and for all how the CIA turned him into a ruthless killing machine. Director Paul Greengrass doesn’t hold back, shooting a series of epic action sequences across Europe’s biggest cities with a fittingly climactic finale in New York.

Like so many movies on at the multiplexes these days, this film had me scrambling to rewatch the prequels before I went to this one. Though Ultimatum is certainly coherent and gripping as a standalone film, it will make for a richer and fuller experience if you have a good working knowledge of the first two films, particularly Supremacy (For some reason there are lots of copies of Supremacy floating around but I couldn’t find Identity anywhere).

Apart from the crisp, kinetic action sequences which make up the bulk of the film (and these are excellently put together), Ultimatum’s acting is what sets it apart from your average thriller. The support cast is great, and although actions films do not generally lend themselves to character development, Matt Damon is a bloody good actor rather than a mere well-muscled pretty boy. My only complaint is that the film is very much cut into good guys and bad guys, and the idea of endemic wrongdoing is downplayed (lesser films such as Shooter made something out of this as it is particularly topical post-9/11). However, Ultimatum’s pros by far outweigh its cons and it is a fitting end to a superlative trilogy of smart, compelling action films.

PAUL GREENGRASS

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