Blu-ray and DVD Reviews

The Bourne Ultimatum

Reviewed by: Edward Douglas and Scott Chitwood
Movie Rating:
8 out of 10
Extras Rating:
7 out of 10
Movie Details:
View here

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Rating: PG-13

Starring:
Matt Damon as Jason Bourne
Julia Stiles as Nicky Parsons
David Strathairn as CIA Deputy Director Noah Vosen
Scott Glenn as CIA Director Ezra Kramer
Paddy Considine as Simon Ross
Edgar Ramirez as Paz
Albert Finney as Dr. Albert Hirsch
Joan Allen as Pamela Landy
Tom Gallop as Tom Cronin
Corey Johnson as Wills
Daniel Brühl as Martin Kreutz
Joey Ansah as Desh Bouksani
Colin Stinton as Neal Daniels
Dan Fredenburgh as Jimmy
Lucy Liemann as Lucy

Special Features:
Deleted scenes

5 Featurettes:
Man on the Move: Jason Bourne (scenes from Berlin, Paris, London, Madrid and Tangier locations)
Rooftop Pursuit
Planning the Punches
Driving School
New York Chase

Feature commentary with director Paul Greengrass

Other Info:
Widescreen (2.40:1)
Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround Sound
Spanish and French Subtitles
Spanish and French Language
Running Time: 1 Hour 56 Minutes

Synopsis:
The following is from the DVD cover:

"Matt Damon returns as highly trained assassin Jason Bourne, who is on the hunt for the agents who stole his memory and true identity. With a new generation of skilled CIA operatives tracking his every move, Bourne is in a non-stop race around the globe as he finally learns the truth behind his mysterious past. Loaded with incredible fight and chase sequences, it's the exhilarating movie with mind-blowing action that you can't afford to miss!"

"The Bourne Ultimatum" is rated PG-13 for violence and intense sequences of action.

The Movie:
"The Bourne Ultimatum" starts somewhere near the end of the last movie and then jumps forward six weeks as Matt Damon's Jason Bourne is starting to remember things from his past, particularly a troubling flashback of his conditioning by the secret Threadstone division of the CIA that turned him into a killing machine without a past.

With promises of finally answering the questions posed in the 2001 action-thriller "The Bourne Identity," this third installment gets even further away from Robert Ludlum's beloved spy novel, as director Paul Greengrass follows his groundbreaking "United 93" with a movie that moves the story forward without losing sight of what worked so well in the previous two. Anyone hoping or expecting the movie to break new ground will either be disappointed or thrilled, depending on whether they want something new or more of the same.

Quickly jumping from Moscow to New York City to Milan, Paris and beyond, the series capper barely stays in one place very long as a handful of new players are drawn into the Bourne debacle. After being leaked inside information about the CIA program that spawned Jason Bourne, Paddy Considine's Simon Ross writes a story for the Guardian that makes him a target, as Bourne tracks him down to find out what he knows. Joan Allen's Pam Landy returns as the "good" CIA operative who wants to bring Bourne in alive, but this time she meets resistance from David Strathairn's Noah Yosen, who replaces Chris Cooper and Brian Cox as this installment's power-hungry CIA director who want to eliminate Bourne before he comes after them. It seems just a mite too coincidental when Bourne runs into Julia Stiles' Nikki once again, and she helps him try to find the source of the leak, but at least they don't take the easy route by turning her into his latest lover interest. They don't really have time for that because as soon as they arrive in Tangier looking for Ross' source, Yosen has operatives of his upgraded black ops organization chasing them across the rooftops. This chapter is even more clever and fun than the previous two in the way that Bourne uses his brains and fighting skills to outwit Yosen's agents and solve problems, though at a certain point, he's such an unstoppable force that it rarely allows for any tension, because we know he'll find a way out of it.

Paul Greengrass shows significant improvement with his second movie in the franchise, once again joined by the talented creative quartet that helped turn the previous two movies into such exciting, genre-defining action-thrillers. Cinematographer Oliver Wood's camera rarely stands still for a second as it sweeps, swoops and creates gorgeous tracking shots of the global locales. His spectacular shots are chopped together in the same quick-fire style as "Supremacy" with John Powell providing his most driving score so far. Eventually things slow down to a more reasonable clip, but it rarely wastes time dawdling on exposition, though Tony Gilroy's dialogue is far more impressive when delivered by such a strong array of dramatic actors including Strathairn, Allen, Scott Glenn and Albert Finney.

Those who've enjoyed the first two movies might get mildly irked by how "Ultimatum" rarely tries to tread new ground in terms of storytelling, especially with a number of blatant homages that mirror classic scenes from the first movie, but it also ups the ante in terms of action, outdoing the car chase climax from the last movie with ease. Those who've been following the story so far shouldn't be too disappointed by the resolution that brings Bourne to New York City and answers many of the questions about Bourne's past and the program that changed him.

The Extras:
Here's what you'll find among the bonus features:

Deleted scenes - There are several deleted scenes, most of those featuring Joan Allen as Pamela Landy. We see more of her verbal sparring with Strathairn. There is one scene of Bourne meeting with an arms dealer, but otherwise the deleted scenes are very minor.

Man on the Move: Jason Bourne - These are a series of 'making of' featurettes showing the filming that took place in the Berlin, Paris, London, Madrid and Tangier locations. You see interviews with cast and crew, stunts being prepared, sets being dressed (with fake snow), and more. It's a cool look at how they made this into an international spectacle.

Rooftop Pursuit - As you can tell from the title, this featurette goes into great detail about the chase scene in Tangiers. You see them preparing a wall with fake glass on the top as well as the cool jump through the apartment window.

Planning the Punches - In this video you see how they prepared for the elaborate fight scene. It takes painstaking planning as they map out every punch and kick like a dance move.

Driving School - In here you get to see how Matt Damon and the stunt crew prepared for the elaborate car chases seen in the film.

New York Chase - And here you get to see the actual filming of those scenes at the parking garage and around New York.

Rounding out the bonus features is a commentary with director Paul Greengrass.

The Bottom Line:
In a summer full of disappointing threequels, it's nice to know that at least one franchise knows how to deliver the goods by replicating the thrills of the first two movies by sticking to a similar formula while answering the burning questions that have kept so many people interested for so many years.

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