Sunday, August 05, 2007

Bourne Ultimatum

There's always an evil doctor. Did you expect anything else was behind Jason Bourne's mechanized killing? (Bourne Ultimatum official website.)

Well, there's a bit more than that, of course. We get to peek at water-boarding and sleep deprivation and the other tools CIA stooges use to make people say and do and turn into anything. Would that it were true. Hardened terrorists could be behaviorally modified into docile herbivores living out their days ruminating in a pasture guarded only by a sheep dog.

Fancifulness and not-so-subtle political jabs aside, the final installment of Robert Ludlum's Bourne series revs up your sympathetic nervous system into overdrive for two hours and doesn't let go. Bourne finds a newspaper reporter sourced by a mole in the CIA. The all-powerful CIA has control of video cameras and phones with nary an impediment and finds the reporter who has already been found by Bourne. The hapless reporter doesn't realize how in over his head he is until Bourne kills three assassins right in front of him. "This is serious!" Bourne yells at the guy. It gets more serious.

The break-neck pace, the musical urgency, the spare dialogue and Matt Damon's bleak demeanor make for another riveting production. The intensity is upped again by Paul Greengrass's hand-held camera work. More than one cameraman must have ended up with a broken nose because he was in the middle of the fight. The only problem, this time, was that the camera was so close, the action so fast and real, it was impossible to actually see what was happening. Whack! Whack! Whack! Blurrrrrrr! Dead guy. It made for excessive visual confusion. Martial arts guys will be p.o.'d. They won't be able to see many of the cool moves.

Bourne's journey ends where he could never remember where it began. The last series in the movie has him going back to the training facility. In one scene he walks down the hallway where room after locked room looks suspiciously like a prison and one wonders how many other poor Jasons are locked away mid-mind mold. I was half-way expecting Bourne to open the doors and free the suffering fools like so many dogs at the pound, but the movie is more sophisticated than that.

The real question from the movie: Does Bourne end up freed from his prison? You'll just have to see for yourself.

Rating: 3/4 Stars

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