Review: The Bourne Ultimatum

Published 8 years ago by , Updated February 9th, 2012 at 9:34 pm,

By Vic Holtreman

Short version: The Bourne Ultimatum hits it out of the park as a smart, action-packed and compelling spy thriller which puts the series at 3 for 3.

bourne ultimatum Review: The Bourne UltimatumRarely do you get a movie trilogy where all three films are fantastic. Actually, the only other trilogy that comes to mind that fits that description is Lord of the Rings. Now we can add The Bourne Ultimatum to that list of one.

I gave the first two films very high marks (5 stars for Identity and 4.5 stars for Supremacy) and this one lives up to the standards set by the first two completely.

The movie opens with a brief recap of the events at the end of the previous film, showing Jason Bourne’s escape via train from the authorities in Russia and then jumps to six weeks later. At first Bourne’s (Matt Damon) apparent grudge (with good reason) against the CIA doesn’t seem to make sense if you recall the final scene of the previous film, but towards the end of this film it becomes clear, and in a way that is very cool regarding the timeline of the second film and this one.

He’s still unstoppable and so clever in how he gets around seemingly air tight security and surveillance that it can’t help but put a smile on your face. It’s fascinating to watch him navigate seemingly impossible situations and get through them in a way that is at least somewhat plausible (at least in the context of the story). Although the program that gave birth to his uber-spy programming: Treadstone, seems to be dead, there is a new program that seems to have replaced it and Bourne needs to find out the details about it in order to find the men responsible for his programming and to find some closure to his situation.

I won’t get into the story much in order to preserve the experience for you when you go see it, but suffice it to say that the action sequences, fights and car chases while very reminiscent of the previous film, have enough newness to them to keep it interesting. This movie and the previous one have what I think are the most realistic hand to hand fight scenes and car chases that I’ve seen on film. The sheer amount of beating that the cars Bourne drives seems much more like what might happen in a real world car chase at the level of intensity shown here. Most movies show ancillary damage to bystander’s vehicles, but the “hero” and “villain” cars rarely sustain much damage until the very end of the chase. Here there are multiple crashes involving the hero and the main antagonist in pursuit, and many times Bourne uses those crashes to inhibit those chasing him. The hand to hand fights are also very realistic and brutal. Sure, the camera is in a bit close, but the style of the combatants is such that even if standing there watching the fight it seems that it might be difficult to follow the action due to the speed and complexity of the moves.

I can’t say enough about these movies. The combination of action, suspense and thrills while still developing the characters and making the audience care about them just cannot be beat. You can take Transformers and stuff it… THIS is an action movie.

Our Rating:

5 out of 5

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  1. BEST action of film of the summer nuff said

  2. Without a doubt. While Die Hard 4 was popcorn fluff and the T-movie was ridiculous, this one was truly entertaining.


  3. I must say, I am going to see this A.S.A.P. I loved the first two and saw them both in the movies. So, why not complete the trilogy?

  4. When this comes out as an uber-3-DVD set it will DEFINITELY be worth picking up. :-)


  5. This movie does not let the viewer down. It may not be as good as the original, but who cares! Highly recommended.

  6. most realistic hand to hand fight scenes? are you kidding? I loved the movie and thought it was great

    BUT – Greengrass does that insanely annoying WHIP-SHAKE the !#$ camera everytime he has a @!#$%^ fight scene. Damon has worked out and done the training – you can see it in the first movie obviously.

    Back the camera up, stop shaking it, and SHOOT the damn FIGHT

    One of the characters could have been humping a squirrel right in the middle of the fight and you wouldn’t have been able to tell….

  7. I wasn’t referring to the way the fight scenes were shot, I was referring to the fighting style.

    I agree that the shaken camera syndrome is a pain in the butt.


  8. Gotcha

    Hey not a personal thing – I LOVE the site (just discovered it a month or so ago and LOVE it! I check all the time for new IRON MAN info – you guys ROCK with that)

    its just that shakey camera thing bugs the crap outta me and sets me off :-)

  9. LOL, yeah, I hear ya. I don’t know who to thank for starting that style… NYPD Blue? MTV?


  10. LOL :-)
    seems to be an american thing to me…..??

    in most movies involving a real martial artist, the story usually sucks but the fighting is pretty great – and you can SEE it.

    seems like most american directors want to make it look kickass and end up covering for a lack of ability or training by the stars? The Matrix boys were the first guys to get smart, bring in a guy like Woo Ping and then TRAIN their stars and show the fighting. And Statham proved he could do just that in the first Transporter. (I am not mentioning the steaming LOAD that was movie #2….lol)

    Then again, the shakey camera thing is such an irritant – Tony Scott is 50/50 for me – love movies like Crimson Tide and yet HATE some of his other stuff with the epileptic camera crappola….

  11. The director is British, so it’s not ‘an American thing’.

  12. And so is Tony Scott, btw. (Ridley’s brother)

    So much for the “American thing”ness of the shaky cam. In fact, go back to lots of French New Wave of Godard for the origins of shakey cam. In other words, no, it’s not an American style point. MTV copied it from the French, Italian, British New Wave directors in the early/mid 60s. Though then it was done well, and for a reason. Now, it’s just to cover up lack of production value, usually, or to make a scene more edgy. Personally, I hate it. If you do too, keep sounding off, directors will hear you at the boxoffice.

  13. Sorry – ‘american film’ thing might be more of an on target comment

  14. Best spy thriller