The Bourne Ultimatum: Blu-ray/DVD Combo
The man who has been kicking Bond's ass up and down the Blockbuster Video isles ever since his emphatic debut five years ago returns for the third installment in this slick espionage saga. Bourne made Damon a bona fide superstar and forced the suits at MGM into a serious rethink of their flagship spy franchise, which up until Casino Ryoale had been languishing in self parody. Revolutionizing the spy film Bourne is now quite rightly the standard by which the competition is measured.
In all honesty, this really should be starting to get a little old by now. Company men in suits, occupying command rooms that make CTU Los Angeles look positively understaffed. Assassins that wear the cheery disposition of a Terminator designed to blend in as a Gap model, pursuing Bourne with their android like precision. A protagonist who now embarking on his third film and still has no real clues as to his past. It really should start to get a little boring, but thanks to Damon's earnest performance and Greengrass' exhilarating direction, it just doesn't.
Ultimatum runs along something of a parallel to the previous installment, with the first half of the story taking place before the final scenes of Bourne Supremacy and the second half picking up at that point and taking the story forward from there. Bourne is still on the run, still having debilitating flashbacks, and is still looking for answers. When a London reporter claims to have an inside source prepared to blow the whistle on Treadstone and the umbrella operation, Blackbriar, Bourne must race against the men who trained him to uncover the secrets before the reporter can be silenced.
Joining Damon once again is Joan Allen as the agency woman with her own, rather unpopular ideas about Bourne and his intentions. Also returning is Julia Styles as logistics operative, Nicky, who Apparently has more of a relationship with Bourne than either we or he know about. David Straithairn is the new suit charged with bringing Bourne in and Albert Finney joins up at the enigmatic figure who now haunts Bourne's nightmares.
Supremacy director Paul Greengrass is also back and still up to his bag of camera tricks. Apparently having no clue at all what a steadicam is, Greengrass persists with the hand held approach. The constantly moving camera, combined with editing that would give even the most hardened ADD sufferer a headache, (there are forty-one cuts in the first 90 seconds), make for a breakneck pace and a real right-there-right-now sense of intimacy. As you camera swings round to follow a punch to the thundering connect, you almost feel the need to duck out of the way for fear of being clobbered. Greengrass engineers an almost constant heart racing tension level watching Bourne skillfully evade, disable and neutralize with effortless cool that somehow is never once feels the least bit contrived or hokey.
The authentic vibe of the action stems from the casual, minimalist nature of it all, but the real accolades have to be laid right at the feet of Damon. Clearly very comfortable with the character he is just pitch perfect as the conflicted killer with a conscience who never once feels the need to sell what he is doing or laud the character's charisma over the audience. Squatting over a dead body in the bathroom, trying to catch his breath, Bourne just stares, a man beleaguered. No silly quips here – he was just in the fight of his life and he knows it. It is perhaps this painfully acute awareness of the reality of what he's doing that make him the complete package.
Slowly ramping up the adrenaline level, Greengrass is careful not to blow his stack too early and the action sequences come thick and fast and carefully staggered with a close quarter scrap between Bourne and company men in a London train station an early standout sequence. The set pieces are technically so well crafted that you forgive the fact that occasionally it is just a blur of sensation. With stories as neat as spectacular as this Bourne could conceivably go on and on, just like Bond. Which won't please the guys at MGM one bit.
This combo disc gives the viewer the option of either crisp, clean Hi-Def on one side, or standard on the other (which isn't too shabby either). Extras comprise a commentary track from Paul Greengrass, numerous making of docs, and the all important U-control feature, allowing you to augment the movie by means of a virtual HUD gifting you production details and behind-the-scenes information.
Starring: Matt Damon, Julia Stiles, David Strathairn, Scott Glenn, Joan Allen, Albert Finney, Joey Ansah
Director: Paul Greengrass
Runtime: 111 Minutes