THE BOURNE ULTIMATUM, we are told, was the best-reviewed in the series. At $125,000,000 it more than doubled the budget outlay of the first one, and the global haul of $442,824,000 topped the rest at the tills. It even knocked down a trio of Oscars for 2007; Film Editing, Sound Mixing and Sound Editing. Once more directed by Paul Greengrass, it was written by Tony Gilroy, Scott Z. Burns and George Nolfi, this time not just loading up with action but stressing the emotional cost borne by Bourne for all the mischief he was party to. Returning to back Matt Damon’s one-man cabal crusher are Julia Styles (more to do this time) and Joan Allen (somewhat less). Lead troublemakers include David Strathairn, Albert Finney and Scott Glenn, with a fresh new bunch in line to do & die: Paddy Considine, Edgar Ramirez, Daniel Brühl. Not-so-innocent locales targeted for runaway assaults and battering are Tangier, London, Paris, Madrid, Berlin and New York City. John Powell on score, Oliver Wood on cinematography.
To a degree the 115 minutes may as well be Bourne, Again? as the franchise (how I hate that soulless word), like The Matrix, here seems like one movie done over & over again, the hyperkinetic editing and pose at seriousness disguising cinematic bowls of ripe popcorn into a few quickly gobbled bytes. You forget what you watched ten minutes after; a trip to the fridge or loo and you’re plot-lost by what transpired while you were away. Or, more likely, you won’t care, because, despite the massive energy expended, the terse performances and sleek jacketing, any relation to actuality exists mainly in the advertising pitches from director and star. Greengrass: “Bourne is a real man in a real world in pursuit of a mythic quest…What attracts me to Bourne’s world is that it is a real world and I think I’m most comfortable there.” Q: does he live on Earth or does his cut from the profits just allow him to visit from Zontar? Damon chimed in by slamming the idea of fuddy duddy/Imperialist/sex hound James Bond vis a vis Bourne’s “legitimate” spyscape. Now, we’re not knocking Our Man Matt—he’s a smart dude and good actor—but anyone who really thinks someone, juiced up on meds or not, could possibly dish out and/or absorb the punishment these movies offer up as “real” needs to send me a large sum of money at once. And a half dozen passports.