The Bourne Ultimatum
This one was very good.
Ultimatum returns to the familiar feel of Identity in this film. From now on, when you look up "thrill-ride" in the dictionary, there will be a scaled down picture of the movie poster for this film (just like the one above) next to the definition. Most good action movies take you for a ride and keep you in a constant state of suspense because you don't know what's going to happen right around the corner. The poor movies don't do this: the movement is plodding, the plots are set-up cheaply & are wholly predictable, and the entire experience is just stale. Not so here. Remember how fun Identity was the first time when you could hardly remember where you had just been, could barely figure out where you were at the time, and had no idea where you were going??.... but you couldn't wait to get there! This movie does that, too. If it is an experience you seek, this is your film.
Now, I'm about to get really critical. I may be splitting hairs here, but that is what separates the magnificent works of art from the "very good" films.
Another redundant feature of this movie was our final view of the character of Jason Bourne as a tragic figure who is asked to sacrifice too much for the cause. I really didn't enjoy this theme the first time I saw Matt Damon portray it in The Good Shepherd. I really didn't care to see him emphasize the point again. Apparently our culture is supposed to be one where no one gives more than society's arbitrary standard of self-sacrifice allows. (As an aside, perhaps the scandal of the cross in contemporary culture is the very simple notion of self-sacrifice. I'll be meditating on this, & I'll probably be preaching on it soon, as well).
Finally, and once again from the Redundant Department of Redundancy, the architects of this film reach back to the trusty & reliable first in the trilogy for a theme: identity. In a deleted scene, before a Senate committee in a hearing, the director of the CIA explains the primacy of ethics in espionage relative to the USA keeping its identity as a noble nation. In the film, Jason Bourne relentlessly chases clues toward the end of discovering his identity. Other agents furiously chase other clues toward the end of discovering exactly what the CIA really is at the tip of the sword. The entire trilogy is somewhat of a morality play about how it is what you do in life that defines you. Wait a minute! That was Batman Begins! Minus another ½ a star for lack of imagination & theme infringement.
Matt Damon even joked about the repetitive nature of this film franchise, joking as a guest on Jon Stewart's "The Daily Show" that the fourth movie would have to be named "The Bourne Redundancy." Some clever people have already filmed & released the trailer for the fourth Bourne film.
Four stars. Not great, but very good. It is certainly a must-see.