Tuesday, August 07, 2007

One Minute Movie Review: "The Bourne Ultimatum"


directed by Paul Greengrass
starring Matt Damon, Julia Stiles, Joan Allen, David Strathairn, Albert Finney, Paddy Considine, others

"The Bourne Ultimatum" is that rare thing, a sequel that's also a shot of pure cinematic adrenaline. Go see it, if only for the bravura sequence in which Bourne, Nicky Parsons (Stiles), and a CIA hitman pursue a nerve-jangling, three-way stalking chase down the alleys, through the windows, up the stairs and over the rooftops of Tangier. Or the countless other equally breathless chase and combat scenes that director Greengrass ("United 93," "Bourne Supremacy") relentlessly, almost brutally draws out to an unbearable level of tension. Or the subtler pleasure of seeing old hands like Strathairn and Joan Allen circling each other warily as ostensible teammates who are really on opposite sides of the Bourne question.

I still slightly prefer the first movie, "The Bourne Identity," partly because of director Doug Liman's lighter touch, partly because it showed Bourne at his most vulnerable and thus made it easier to empathize with him. (In that sense, it reminded me a little of the original "Terminator," which to my mind was far more effective than T2 - because our sympathies lay with a very human, though skilled, guy who was making it up as he went along, not the streamlined killing machine that took charge of the later movies.) But there's no denying that Greengrass has made a hell of a good capper to a solid trilogy. More than that, he's brought excitement back to the damn-near-exhausted genre of the action film. That, in itself, makes "Ultimatum" well worth a trip to the theater.



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