The Bourne Ultimatum

Directed By: Paul Greengrass

Starring: Matt Damon, Julia Stiles, David Strathairn, Scott Glenn, Paddy Considine, Édgar Ramirez, Albert Finney, and Joan Allen

2006 and 2007 were really great years for action movies in general.  We had Casino Royale, Mission: Impossible III, Live Free or Die Hard, and The Bourne Ultimatum all released in a little more than a year.  With all these films being released within a little more than a year of one another, it's needless to say that Paul Greengrass and Matt Damon had to bring their best in The Bourne Ultimatum.  We had already had a healthy dose of MI-6, the IMF, and New York's finest.  As history tells us, The Bourne Ultimatum was a rousing success as Greengrass and Damon did bring their A-game in this final installment with Damon in the titular role of Jason Bourne.

Picking up where he left off in The Bourne Supremacy, a wounded Jason Bourne (Damon) continues fleeing the CIA.  CIA Director Ezra Kramer (Scott Glenn) still considers Bourne to be a serious threat to the agency and has devoted plenty of agency resources to hunting him down.  Six weeks later, Simon Ross (Paddy Considine), a reporter for the UK publication The Guardian, begins publishing a series of articles on Treadstone and Jason Bourne.  Interested in finding out what Ross knows, Bourne sets up a meeting with him at the Waterloo Station in London.

Through a black ops program known as Operation Blackbriar, the CIA is well aware of Ross's articles on Treadstone and Bourne.  In fact, they're now after Ross and his source.  Deputy Director Noah Vosen (David Strathairn) is leading this investigation and eventually discovers Bourne meeting with Ross.  Now believing Bourne is Ross's source, Vosen reaches out to Director Kramer who sends Deputy Director Pam Landy (Joan Allen) up to New York to help Vosen do what no one else in the agency has been able to do, eliminate Jason Bourne.  As she becomes more familiar with Operation Blackbriar, Landy gets first-hand exposure to the Treadstone upgrade, and she's not so enamored with the sharp end of the stick.

With The Bourne Ultimatum, Paul Greengrass has crafted the best Bourne flick of all.  Matt Damon is back to his usual badass ways as Jason Bourne. The surviving cast members from the previous films are back as well.  Joan Allen returns as the feisty Pam Landy and is giving the film its moral compass.  Julia Stiles is back as the emotionally stunted Nikki Parsons.  With all the gang back and newcomers David Strathairn, Albert Finney, and Scott Glenn, Greengrass has a stellar cast working with him.  He puts them to good use.

Greengrass has a way of making chaos beautiful and does so in a grand way in The Bourne Ultimatum.  The two things he uses most to create this chaos are tense dynamics between Landy and Vosen and internal strife within the agency as Bourne picks the CIA apart on its home court.  Joan Allen and David Strathairn are two underrated but terrific actors.  On screen, they tear each other apart in countless arguments over the ethics of Operation Blackbriar.  These two verbally beat the hell out of each other.  Meanwhile, Bourne and the CIA tear cities up on multiple continents.  As they do so, we get countless chaotic, fast-paced action sequences that are absolutely phenomenal.

The Bourne Ultimatum is a great way to close out the Jason Bourne story.  Bourne finally finds his identity and answers the big question of the series — "Who am I?".  With smart direction from Paul Greengrass, great performances from the cast, and beautiful chaos, this is an outstanding spy movie and a great place to start The Bourne Legacy.  Have a few wine coolers with this one.  The Bourne Ultimatum gets a 0.03% rating.  Jeremy Renner has some big shoes to fill in The Bourne Legacy.