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January 29th, 2007:
Rogue agent Jason Bourne (Matt Damon
) is still being hunted by the very people at the CIA that transformed him into a killer. Still suffering from amnesia and determined to finally learn of his true identity, he is lured out of hiding to make contact with a journalist named Simon Ross (Paddy Considine
), who has been following his story. Throughout his research, Ross has gathered up valuable information about Bourne and Treadstone, the organization that trained him. Thatís rather inconvenient for Noah Vosen (David Strathairn
), who is looking to start up a new organization under the codename Blackbriar that would follow in Treadstoneís footsteps. With intent to kill Bourne and the journalist before they expose the programís embarrassing secrets, he sends agent Pam Landy (Joan Allen
) to lead the search effort. Simultaneously, Paz (Edgar Ramirez
), one of the remaining few living Treadstone assassins, is dispatched to take both Bourne and Ross out. In order to finally learn of his true origins and find some inner peace, Bourne will have to evade, outsmart, and outmaneuver the deadliest group of highly-trained killers yet.What to Expect:
Although the Bourne series is largely influenced by the James Bond franchise, the Jason Bourne flicks have put the more famous British super spy to shame over the past few years and may be the primary reason behind the producersí decision to take the Bond series back to its stripped-down espionage roots with the very rugged, Bourne-like Daniel Craig
in the lead. The Bourne Identity and The Bourne Supremacy have combined for just under $300 million at the domestic box-office and have made nearly $500 million total worldwide, making the third part in the series one of the most anticipated films of the summer. It is no surprise then that screenwriter Tony Gilroy, who wrote the first two parts, was reportedly paid $2 million to do the third installment. Additionally, Oscar winner Tom Stoppard (Shakespeare in Love, Brazil) has been hired on to help with the script. Director Paul Greengrass
, who took over for Doug Liman
after the first part, is back to helm the final chapter and may just be the biggest selling point for me. Some have complained that his relentless use of hand held cameras deflates and distorts the onscreen action to the point that it becomes completely meaningless, but personally, I find that the hyper-real approach is both gritty and invigorating and allows me to feel as though I am a part of the action. Of course, Greengrass used the same approach in the astonishing, September 11th themed United 93
, which was a most remarkable and realistic examination that pointed no fingers and merely observed the gut-wrenching struggle endured on that fateful day, while also serving as a potent and thoughtful allegory on the sometimes hopeless state of world affairs today. So, I say, bring the shaky-camera-jump-cut-heavy-tightly-crafted action flick on. Article continues below
Of course, the series could still work without Greengrass, but it would be a suicidal move to try to make it work without Matt Damon, who, before The Bourne Identity, I had difficulty imagining as a convincing action hero type. Thinking about it now, a lot of Daniel Craigís performance was probably influenced by Damon and his approach to playing the very human and somewhat flawed spy. The always dependable, three-time Oscar nominated Joan Allen also returns to reprise her role as Pamela Lady, the person in charge of the operation to track Bourne down and bring him back home. The only character other than Jason Bourne that will return for the third straight film is Nicky (Julia Stiles
), who worked with Treadstone since its origins. One of the things that I always keep thinking of are Stilesí telling eyes, which always seem to hint at some past that connects her to Bourne.
***WARNING: SPOILER AHEAD***
There are rumors that a romance may develop between the two and that possibly there may have actually been one also before Jason Bourne lost his memory.
***END OF SPOILER***
Jason Strathairn (Good Night, and Good Luck), who plays the mastermind villain this time around, is a tremendous addition. The Oscar nominated actor is one of the quiet heroes of the cinema today and is bound to give an entertaining performance that would rival what Brian Cox
and Chris Cooper
did in the first two films. Gael Garcia Bernal
was at one point slated to play Paz, the assassin hot in pursuit of Jason Bourne, but that role eventually went to the still relatively unknown Edgar Ramirez
The first half of The Bourne Ultimatum will serve as a way of telling much of the story in The Bourne Supremacy, except from a different point of view. Flashbacks will reportedly fill in the gap during Bourneís trip from Moscow to New York in The Bourne Supremacy. A lot of the background on Noah Vosenís strategy and his employment of Pamela Lady to help him find Bourne will also be revealed.
***WARNING: SPOILER AHEAD***
Reportedly, there will also be a rundown of Treadstoneís history and a new mind control subplot that will actually play into the filmís conclusion.
***END OF SPOILER***
Most importantly, the million dollar question of who Jason Bourne really is will finally be answered, although readers of the books on which the series is based on should already know the answer. Those unfamiliar with the novels should not expect any marvelous, mind-blowing surprises, but everything, including his name, birthplace, and life history, will be revealed.
Greengrass has been gushing about how fantastic he expects the film to turn out. With all the usual excitement and intensity of a Bourne film, The Bourne Ultimatum will jump around between spectacular locations like London, Madrid, Tangier, Paris, and New York, which will also be the site of the movieís climax. Greengrass has already promised that the movie will feature a spectacular car chase that will take place in New York and will outdo the ones that appeared in the past two films. Reportedly, there will also be an extremely tense chase sequence set in the Waterloo station, as Bourne and Ross try to evade Paz, the assassin. And just in case you might search within the pages of the novel for some spoilers, the movie will follow a decidedly different story. It is, however, expected to neatly tie up the loose ends of the first two features.In Conclusion:
The Bourne series offers a gritty, realistic alternative to the action trash that comes out each summer. Still, Iíve always felt that the movies donít quite live up to a lot of the hype. At the end of each of the previous two entries Iíve felt somewhat dissatisfied. Perhaps it is only because there was no real conclusion to either one and even in this day of trilogies and storylines developed and stretched out over a series of movies I still havenít gotten used to the trend. The Bourne Ultimatum will not veer far from the look, feel, and attitude of the first two flicks and as such will probably not offer that many surprises, but it may feel more satisfying than the last two flicks. With an August release date, the movie should dominate the late summer season.Similar Titles: The Bourne Identity
, The Bourne Supremacy
, Casino Royale