By Fred Topel | Images property of Universal Pictures.
The Bourne Ultimatum
This is the best Bourne by far. I liked The Bourne Identity but didn't love it. I didn't like Supremacy at all. The action was unimpressive and that shakey cam style made it all look like nonsense.
Review: The Bourne Ultimatum
I still hate Paul Greengrass's handheld camera style, but I knew that going in so I was prepared to let it go. It's still ridiculous. I mean, scenes of people sitting at a table talking are jerking around like a kid videotaping his bar mitzvah. Come on, that's not art.
It's far less distracting than in Supremacy though. There are a few scenes where you can't quite tell who's doing what, but all of the cool stuff is visible. It would be way better if it were steadier shots just edited together, but what can you do?
Most of the chase scenes feature several parties converging together. The build up is almost more exciting than the kick-ass stunts that resolve the scenes. The film conveys who is on what path and how close they are with visual cues and editing. Maybe the handheld stuff works here, because it's so shaky, by the time you read a sign, it's onto the next shot and you didn't have to wait.
The action is not the sort of crazy sh*t I enjoy in movies like Transformers and Live Free or Die Hard. It's more subtle, if you can call destructive fight scenes and car crashes subtle. But it's about how Bourne uses the environment to just slip by, not how much he can blow up. It's more reality, but really cool reality.
Of course, there are a few big, outlandish moments and those are great. Bourne still does a little bit of preparation to justify his survival. It's kind of cool that Bourne fights to wound because he doesn't like killing.
The story is intricately connected to the past film. You wouldn't necessarily need to see the other ones, because it's all explained, but you wouldn't feel it unless you have.
The espionage is great. Surveillance dodging scenes are more exciting than the most outrageous action sequences, and everyone talking in codes, testing each other and lying keeps the audience guessing.
Since all the Bourne movies sort of came together on the fly, it's like the finally figured it all out. The Bourne Ultimatum is the ultimate Bourne. Too bad it's the last one. They were just getting going.