Matt Damon returns as Robert Ludlum’s Jason Bourne in this third installment of the highly successful series. Like Supremacy, this entry on the 101 Action Movies list is also directed by Paul Greengrass, and this time around, they’ve pulled out all the stops as this high-throttle action film brings Jason home, stepping onto the shores of America for the first time in the trilogy.
Spurred on by contact with a UK reporter, Simon Ross (Paddy Considine), Bourne has new leads that may lead him to the answers he’s been looking for, including who he really is.
Meeting up with Ross puts the reporter in danger though, and leads to one of my favorite sequences in any of the Bourne films, the tense, nail-biting Waterloo station sequence. Jason tries to guide Ross through the mass of crowds, avoiding his pursuers, as well as an assassin tasked with eliminating both of them.
His pursuit gives him the name of Daniels (Colin Stinton), who is working with Nicky Parsons (Julia Stiles), and it is through her that Bourne restablishes contact with Pamela Landy (Joan Allen) who is working with Noah Vosen (David Strathairn), under Ezra Kramer’s (Scott Glenn) guidance at the CIA.
Bourne is haunted by images of a man, Dr. Albert Hirsch (Albert Finney), who may be at the heart of everything.
As he is in turns pursued, and pursuing, Bourne races across the globe, to track down Daniels, save Nicky, track Lany and Vosen until he finally comes face to face with the answers he’s been looking for.
The action sequences this time around are everything we’ve come to expect from the series. As mentioned there is the brilliant Waterloo sequence, as well as fantastic bike, then foot chase, in and through buildings, culminating in the cross New York chase that leads to answers and a resolution of Bourne’s three picture search.
Greengrass brings his handheld camera-style to add a visceral intensity to the action sequences, and the tension is palatable as Bourne navigates the murky waters of the agency and its agenda.
Damon infuses the character with a humanity that makes him more than just a killing machine, and one emphasizes with the character while also cheering him on as he pummels enemy after enemy in dazzling, rapidly-cut, and lightening paced fight sequences.
John Powell again provides a driving score that again, I found myself humming repeatedly as I wandered about town, occasionally interspersing it with Moby’s Extreme Ways, which has become the signature song associated with the series.
The trilogy and the fourth film, The Bourne Legacy, are completely different animals from the original Ludlum novels, but what they do have is a gritty realism. They all move at a breakneck pace, have fantastic sequences, but never sacrifice story for action. This is a character that the audience cares about, they don’t just want to see him ‘win,’ they want him to get answers as well.
Supremacy and Ultimatum are both highly enjoyable films, and it was a joy to watch them again for the 101 Action Movies list (which is coming very quickly to an end!).
What is your favorite Bourne moment?