The Bourne Ultimatum (2007)
Starring: Matt Damon, Julia Stiles, Joan Allen, David Strathairn, Scott Glenn, Paddy Considine, Edgar Ramirez, Albert Finney
Directed by: Paul Greengrass
After a summer of mediocre to piss-poor second sequels, it's understandable if people felt a little burned out by blockbuster franchises by this point, and considered skipping out on The Bourne Ultimatum. DON'T. Forget Spider-Man 3, Pirates of the Caribbean: At World's End or Shrek 3, their failures have nothing to do with what Paul Greengrass accomplishes with his second crack at the Bourne franchise. Simply put, The Bourne Ultimatum is THE movie of the summer... perhaps of the year.
Last year, it seemed like the Bond franchise was ready to take back the mantle it surrendered to the Bourne series with the release of Casino Royale. The Bourne Ultimatum answered back with vigour, using director Paul Greengrass' trademark hyper-realistic style to give the movie an intensity rarely seen, giving it an unparallelled visceral impact. Seriously, the fight scenes in this movie are as intense and exciting as anything you will ever see.
The best part of The Bourne Ultimatum is that it provides a recent example that proves the lie that action blockbusters need be mindless popcorn fun to be entertaining. I run across this all the time, with people giving some brainless flicks full of explosions some slack because they think quality and excitement are mutually exclusive propositions. Well, I defy you to find another movie out there as exciting as this one, or one as expertly made.
Ultimatum improves upon the few flaws of The Bourne Supremacy, allowing Matt Damon to expand the character while giving him more to do. They still maintain the lone wolf mentality that is essential to the Jason Bourne identity, while giving him enough screen time with other characters to provide Damon the opportunity to talk and reveal things about himself. Also, Greengrass is able to put his handheld style to better use in this movie, combining the effect with brutal, scoreless scenes that put the viewer in the action, instead of taking them out of the story.
All in all, the movie is absolutely phenomenal. Several times throughout the movie I was struck dumbfounded by the sheer awesomeness on the screen. I only worry now that it has ruined all other action movies for me, but hope that it has succeeded in raising the bar for all to come.
Bourne Identity, The (2002)
Bourne Supremacy, The (2004)
Casino Royale (2006)