The Bourne Ultimatum Paul Greengrass

The Bourne Ultimatum Paul Greengrass

Jason Bourne just wants to get on with his life. But as he learned in The Bourne Identity and Supremacy, there are always CIA agents and sniping "assets” out there hell-bent on spoiling his plans.

In this third and final film (trust me, there’s no way to bring him back for The Bourne Legacy or The Bourne Betrayal — that is, with his dignity intact), the amnesiac spy inches ever closer to recovering his past thanks to English journalist Simon Ross (Paddy Considine), who’s looking to break a story about the covert Operation Blackbriar (updated from "Treadstone”). Plenty of snags ensue, however, and soon Bourne finds himself back in the U.S. where he was trained as a CIA black ops assassin.

Damon, as usual, excels playing this guarded character, making us care more deeply about discovering the truth than even he does; I only wish I enjoyed him this much in his other roles. Joan Allen and Julia Stiles return once again — both are involved much more in the plot than before — and new to the fold are acting powerhouses Scott Glenn, David Strathhairn and Albert Finney, who combine forces to masterfully prevent Bourne from learning the secrets of his mysterious existence and constant turmoil.

Paul Greengrass’s (United 93) second instalment in the Bourne series once again keeps this Energizer Bunny spy running, using his shaky, on-the-fly camera work to heighten the intensity and keep the action as convincing as blockbusters can get. Rarely do your eyes get to rest and as always, it’s an around the world affair that globe-trots from Moscow and Madrid to Tangiers and London, which hosts arguably the series’ biggest rush: Bourne moving himself and Considine’s Ross through the million-bodied Waterloo Station without being spotted and snuffed. So impressive is Greengrass’s ability to move in that scene — as well as the frantic bathroom brawl and a high flying dirt bike chase — that the virtuoso has us believing wholeheartedly for nearly two hours that this one man can actually infiltrate and take down America’s most dangerous organisation without breaking a sweat.

It’s a shame Bourne goes out on a Moby tune (how cliché!) but this Ultimatum is as satisfying as a spy flick can be (let alone one in a franchise), while maintaining its pedigree as both a blockbuster and a work of art. (Universal)