ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel

Should I Watch..? The Bourne Ultimatum

Updated on June 28, 2018
Benjamin Cox profile image

Benjamin has been reviewing films for over ten years and has seen more action movies than he should probably admit to!

Promotional poster for "The Bourne Ultimatum"
Promotional poster for "The Bourne Ultimatum" | Source

What's the big deal?

The Bourne Ultimatum is an action spy thriller film released in 2007 and was originally billed as the conclusion to the Jason Bourne trilogy, though it was followed up by subsequent films. It is loosely based on the Robert Ludlum novel of the same name although the movies follow a different continuity. Directed by Paul Greengrass who also directed the preceding film The Bourne Supremacy, the movie follows Bourne as he attempts to lay the ghosts of his past to rest whilst discovering a similar program is now targeting him. This is Matt Damon's most financially successful film with him in the lead, grossing some $440 million dollars worldwide as well as winning three Academy Awards. A fourth film - The Bourne Legacy - was released afterwards in 2012 although neither Greengrass or Damon returned to the series for that film. Both would return in 2016 for the fifth film, simply titled Jason Bourne.

Enjoyable

4 stars for The Bourne Ultimatum

What's it about?

Laying low in Moscow after his pursuit of Kirill, Jason Bourne discovers that a British journalist - Simon Ross - has uncovered information about Project Blackbriar, a follow-up to the original Treadstone program that Bourne was a part of. Bourne heads to London to meet Ross but the CIA are already on to them and before Bourne can find anything out, Ross is murdered by Paz, a Blackbriar assassin.

Deputy Director Noah Vosen, who runs Blackbriar, discovers who leaked the information to Ross and proceeds to send men there. But Bourne is suddenly one step ahead although he re-encounters Nicky Parsons, an assistant who used to work on Treadstone. Working together, Bourne decides that the only way he can prevent himself being chased forever is to go directly to the source and as he begins to make his way to America, the net around him closes ever tighter...

Trailer

Technical Info

Actor
Role
Matt Damon
Jason Bourne
Julia Stiles
Nicholette "Nicky" Parsons
Joan Allen
CIA Deputy Director Pamela Landy
David Strathairn
CIA Deputy Director Noah Vosen
Paddy Considine
Simon Ross
Albert Finney
Dr Albert Hirsch
Edgar Ramirez
Paz
Scott Glen
CIA Director Ezra Kramer

Technical Info

Director
Paul Greengrass
Screenplay
Tony Gilroy, Scott Z. Burns & George Nolfi *
Running Time
115 minutes
Release Date (UK)
17th August, 2007
Genre
Action, Spy, Thriller
Academy Awards
Best Film Editing, Best Sound Editing, Best Sound Mixing
* based on a story by Tony Gilroy, original novel by Robert Ludlum
Paddy Considine's in a spot of bother in "The Bourne Ultimatum"
Paddy Considine's in a spot of bother in "The Bourne Ultimatum" | Source

What's to like?

Retaining the same director certainly helps improve continuity as The Bourne Ultimatum has the same blistering level of stunt-work and action scenes as the previous films had. A little story cohesion has been sacrificed but the overall feel of the film is one that refuses to indulge in action for the sake of it. Greengrass knows that the series isn't based on old-school stunt work anyway and elicits another solid performance from Damon as the amnesiac super-spy. Stiles is finally given something meaningful to do and Allen thoroughly deserves another outing as the torn consultant brought in by Vosen to help bring Bourne back in.

Greengrass's style remains as divisive as ever, though. His documentary-like camerawork throws you into the picture which allows you to feel every gunshot, punch, kick and car crash with horrible brutality. But in scenes where there is dialogue, it's not so good and distracts you from what might possibly be crucial pieces of information. But the film is also smart enough to refer back to the previous two films and acts as a decent finale for what has been a gripping and influential series of films.

Fun Facts

  • The film-makers were denied permission to shoot in London Waterloo station, meaning they had to go in incognito to do it. If you look carefully, you'll see regular members of the public pointing at the cameras.
  • As in the previous films, Bourne uses a combination of martial arts - namely Filipino Kali and Jeet Kune Do, the style used by Bruce Lee. The character Desh uses these combined with yet another, Brazilian Capoeira.
  • Matt Damon's final words as Bourne in the film are the exact same as those spoken by The Professor before he dies in The Bourne Identity.

What's not to like?

Maybe it's just me but I never really got hold of the film's plot. I never worked out why Bourne and Nicky had to go to Tangiers or how Bourne even learned about Ross's work on Blackbriar. And I certainly didn't approve of the ambiguous nature of Jason and Nicky's past - if there had been a relationship before he lost his memory, surely she wouldn't have been allowed to continue working with him? Anyway, the film's action sequences distracted me from asking too many questions at the time.

In some respects, it does feel as though they felt the action would be enough to carry the film. The story is essentially a retread of The Bourne Supremacy as Bourne continues to fill in the blanks in his head. Greengrass throws every trick he knows into the film - destructive car crashes, free-running, a sizable chunk of martial arts - but the what the film needed was a spark of magic. What made The Bourne Identity stand out from the crowd was how surprising it was and also how fresh it still feels. By contrast, this feels a little bit like reheated leftovers and by moving the action to America for the finale, it then becomes the same as any other big budget spy flick. And after all is said and done, I still had too many unanswered questions at the end and who enjoys a film that leaves those hanging around?

The film retains the series' trademark levels of action including a free-running sequence across roofs and through windows
The film retains the series' trademark levels of action including a free-running sequence across roofs and through windows | Source

Should I watch it?

It's a fine way to end what has been an enjoyable series but The Bourne Ultimatum misses some of the magic that shone from the earlier movies. It's packed with action, stunt-work and plenty of hand-wrangling CIA agents getting nervous but the film lacks any real sense of cohesion and the plot is all too easily lost. Action fans will get the most out of it but regardless, this is a great film to bid farewell to Jason Bourne.

Great For: action lovers, globe trotters, fans of the earlier movies

Not So Great For: Ludlum readers, Guardian journalists

What else should I watch?

For my money, The Bourne Identity remains the best in the series - its plot is easier to follow and has some degree of resolution at the end, the action is just as spectacular without being overblown and the wintery European setting makes it feel like a proper Cold War spy flick. The Bourne Supremacy lacks the surprise of the first film but maintains a decent storyline whilst stil delivering on the action front - even if it does kill off Franka Potente's wonderful Marie way too early for my liking.

I failed to see how The Bourne Legacy could genuinely compete without having Bourne in it but it's a good film in its own right. Jeremy Renner, who took over from Damon as the lead, gives a fabulous performance as a different CIA operative also in a spot of bother but the film suffers by trying to be a Bourne movie without Jason Bourne in it. There's a nagging sense that it was an attempted reboot instead of a continuation...

© 2015 Benjamin Cox

Soap Box

    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    No comments yet.

    working

    This website uses cookies

    As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, hubpages.com uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

    For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at: https://hubpages.com/privacy-policy#gdpr

    Show Details
    Necessary
    HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
    LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
    Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
    AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
    Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
    CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the googleapis.com or gstatic.com domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
    Features
    Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
    Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
    Marketing
    Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
    Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
    Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
    Statistics
    Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
    ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)