Sunday, August 05, 2007

Review: The Bourne Ultimatum

I had planned on reviewing most of the big summer flicks on here for everyone's reading pleasure, but a few got away from me (most disturbingly, Live Free or Die Hard).
This weekend the summer's last real blockbuster hit, and I wasn't going to let it slip by.

The Bourne Ultimatum, in case you didn't know, is the third film in the Bourne franchise, starring Matt Damon. It's also one of a ridiculous number of threequels out this summer(Spider-Man 3, Shrek 3, POTC 3, to name a few).
Now, all to often, the pattern with franchises works as such: we open with a solid film. The sequel is decent, but lacks the pizazz--or whatever you'd call it--of the original. If they make it to three, well it's usually clinging to straws. And don't watch four.
A case study: the Batman films. Batman is good. Batman Returns is alright. Batman Forever and... the other one... not so much.
Need another example? The Matrix. Nuff' said.
There are noteable exceptions to this: The Empire Strikes Back and Aliens are argueably better than their predecessors, or at least bring something new and good to the table; T2 simply is better than The Terminator; rumor has it that The Godfather Part II surpasses the original, but I have yet to get that far in the series.

So how does the Bourne series stand up against this looming precedent?
I loved the first film. The Bourne Supremacy I wasn't so impressed with. Perhaps it deserves a re-watch, but my first reaction wasn't so enthusiastic. Then we have part three, and frankly, I'm impressed. This is a SOLID action flick, and maybe the strongest film in the franchise.
Why is it so good? A few thoughts:
1) the third installment manages to show you 'how deep the rabbit hole really goes', without making the trip either mind-boggling or boring. We dig deeper and deeper into Bourne's identity and past with Ultimatum, yet it is as exciting as the first time around.
2) this movie doesn't give you a chance to be bored. Really. Your adrenaline will not stop pumping long enough for you to find plot holes or yawn. The action sequences are intense, realistic, and near-constant.
3) the movie doesn't randomly kill important people. Am I the only person who was bothered by the second film's first five minutes?
4) lastly, this movie reminds us that Jason Bourne is a bad man. He manages to rack up what is probably the film industry's largest non-lethal body count ever. This man is what everyone growing up reading Batman comics aspires to.

So as it turns out, this is a great film to wrap up the summer blockbuster season(I'm not really counting Rush Hour 3). It's fun, engaging, and, don't worry, just as fresh as The Bourne Identity was those few years ago.

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