The Bourne Ultimatum (2007) IMDB Top 250 Guest Review

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Today’s IMDB Top 250 Guest Review comes from Niall of The Fluff Is Raging. Thanks so much for all the reviews, Niall! 🙂 Now let’s see what he has to say about The Bourne Ultimatum, IMDB rank 182 out of 250…

There are still some movies up for grabs if anyone wants to do a guest IMDB Top 250 review. You can find the list of remaining films HERE. See the full list & links to all the reviews that have already been done HERE. Also, if you’d like to add a link to your IMDB review(s) on your own blogs, feel free to use any of the logos I’ve used at the top of any of these guest reviews.

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The Bourne Ultimatum

*review written in shaky-cam*

“People, do you have any idea who you’re dealing with? This is Jason Bourne. You are nine hours behind the toughest target you have ever tracked.”

Pamela Landy

When I still watched TV the old-fashioned way, The Bourne movies seemed to be on all the time. They were on so much, in fact, that they began to blur for me and become one long, furiously-edited, shaky-cam mess of people speaking spy-jargon while looking at banks of computer screens, vicious hand-to-hand combat and incredible car crashes. Mostly, they provided a much-needed exciting jolt to the action genre.

There is a lot more to the Bourne movies than just action, of course, which is probably why they were so successful, touching as they do on ripped from the headlines topics like surveillance, rendition, sleeper agents, intelligence leaks, and torture. They are, in short, action movies for grown-ups and, if memory serves, they’re a lot better than the Robert Ludlum potboliers that are their source. They’re spy capers, but they are realistically grounded spy capers. After Wikileaks and Edward Snowden, the amount of eavesdropping going on in The Bourne Ultimatum is truly frightening.

To do justice to the third in the series, The Bourne Ultimatum, you really should watch the first two. A quick catch-up on The Bourne Identity: an unconscious man is rescued by fishermen in the Mediterranean. He has no idea who he is, nor why he has a microchip with a Swiss bank account number embedded in him. He heads to Europe to find out, meets a nice girl who helps him get to Paris, and then the baddies come after him.

Mayhem ensues. Wash, rinse and repeat.

The second film, The Bourne Supremacy, is both a retread and a continuation of the story, with Bourne cracking bones and crashing cars in Berlin and Moscow. The film has an added twist of vengeance – they kill his girlfriend, and we learn more about the secret government assassin programme, Treadstone.

You may recall that after a climactic car chase in Moscow, The Bourne Suprenacy ends with Pamela Landy (Joan Allen) in New York, speaking to Bourne on the phone, unaware he’s watching her from a rooftop. “Get some rest, Pam, you look tired.” The Bourne Ultimatum begins several weeks earlier, with Bourne still limping around Moscow, before stopping off in Berlin, London, Madrid and Tangiers. In real life Euro-railing is nowhere near as exciting as this.

The Bourne Ultimatum is a fitting end to the series. It’s a chickens coming home to roost story, as Bourne tries to find out who he really is and who started all this. I really don’t rate the follow-up The Bourne Legacy at all, and am dubious about the possibility of another Bourne film, even if it will reunite Matt Damon and Paul Greengrass.

Who started it all is Dr. Albert Hirsch (Albert Finney, seen in woozy flashbacks) as a psychiatrist who specialises in behaviour modification, and who erased the identity and personality of Capt. David Webb to create the hitman Jason Bourne as part of a secret project called Blackbriar. (except nobody would ever be so gauche to call him a hitman: in government-speak he is an asset – until, of course, he becomes a liability.) It’s inevitable that the two are going to end up in the same room together, so most of the film is about getting Bourne to New York.

Landy, meanwhile, is trying to help him, and playing office politics with a shadowy CIA operative Noah Vosen (David Strathairn). Their scenes together are every bit as thrilling as the chop-socky fighting stuff.

There are several exciting sequences including Bourne performing a brilliant piece of tradecraft in a crowded Waterloo Station; a rooftop chase in Tunis that ends with the most brutal fight in the entire trilogy; and a thrilling Manhattan car chase.

Okay, it’s still a big Hollywood movie, and even the smartest movie can have dumb moments. There are an awful lot of coincidences in The Bourne Ultimatum. It’s mighty convenient that the hunt for Bourne is actually a news item (would that really happen?) allowing for him to meet a Guardian journalist, Simon Ross (Paddy Considine) who provides some necessary exposition. Bourne finds a photo of Finney that accidentally falls out of a file.

And it really helps that Bourne`s old handler, Nicki Parsons (Julia Stiles) is now stationed in Madrid, where Bourne meets her at the CIA office. I`ve always liked Stiles as an actress, and she has never got the breakout role she deserves; she does very well in a small but important role. It’s heavily hinted that she’s in love with Bourne. There’s a moment in this film that a lesser movie would turn into a love scene, but the closest we get to romance is the following brief exchange:

Bourne: Why are you helping me?

Nicki: It was difficult for me … with you.

They stare at each other silently for a long moment.

Nicki: You really don’t remember anything.

Bourne: No

As for Damon, he’s great as always in the role. He looks weary and hollowed out, not the relatively spry youngster he was in the first film. He doesn’t smile once. He trained for months for the fight sequences, and he does look like he could handle himself in a scrap. The fights were choreographed by Jeff Imada.

Of course, one of the reasons why these films are so exciting is how they are shot and edited. An awful lot of information is crammed into two hours, and the film seldom stops for a breather. And it’s urged along by John Powell’s score. Even a mundane moment like Bourne picking the lock on a door is given urgency by how it’s filmed and edited (four shots in less than two seconds). There’s a fascinating interview with the film’s editor Christopher Rouse  here.

Spare a thought for Dan Bradley. He was the second unit director and stunt coordinator on the film, and many of the movie’s more memorable action moments are down to him, including the Tangiers rooftop chase and the Manhattan car chase.

Niall McArdle

http://www.ragingfluff.wordpress.com

Captain Phillips (2013) Review

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Captain Phillips (2013)

Directed by Paul Greengrass

Starring:
Tom Hanks
Barkhad Abdi
Catherine Keener
Michael Chernus
David Warshofsky
Corey Johnson
Chris Mulkey
Yul Vazquez
Max Martini
Omar Berdouni

Running time: 134 minutes

Plot Synopsis: (via Wikipedia)
Captain Phillips is based on the true story of 2009 Maersk Alabama hijacking, an incident during which merchant mariner Captain Richard Phillips was taken hostage by pirates in the Indian Ocean led by Abduwali Muse. The screenplay was written by Billy Ray, and is based on the 2010 book A Captain’s Duty: Somali Pirates, Navy SEALs, and Dangerous Days at Sea by Richard Phillips with Stephan Talty.

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My Opinion:

Here’s a quickie! I watched this the other night after going to the cinema to watch Her. Trying to squeeze in as many Oscar nominated films as I can before Sunday night! I’ve managed to watch all the best picture nominees now other than 12 Years A Slave, Philomena, and Nebraska. Oh well – I tried! I’m sure 12 Years A Slave will win the majority but… I just couldn’t make myself watch it. Captain Phillips was bad enough – I’m not good with tragic true story types of films. Really not a genre I tend to go for & I fully admit I prefer fiction & escapism when it comes to movies. Probably why I love sci-fi…

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Captain Phillips is a solid enough film for its genre. Tom Hanks is great as always. Who doesn’t love Tom Hanks, nicest guy in Hollywood?? Those pirates were so MEAN & I was like “leave Tom Hanks alone!”. Okay – I know this happened to a real guy so I’m not making light of that it’s just that, the ONLY problem I have with Hanks (and I do love the guy), is that I really see him only as Tom Hanks in every role he plays. Even in this where he’s putting on an accent. He’s an excellent actor but he’s just… Tom Hanks! Lovely guy! He’s like everyone’s favorite dad. So I really didn’t like seeing him upset & getting beat up!

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As for the movie – Well, I can’t exactly say I “enjoyed” it. It’s well made & all that. It started out very strong but the ending felt like nothing but shouting and more shouting and the pirates doing idiotic things and MORE shouting. It was intense but I was tired and all that shouting started to really get on my nerves. But, I suppose it was probably realistic to the true story. Barkhad Abdi is good (although I’m not sure the performance is Oscar worthy). I really did feel for Hanks’ character more than anything. What a horrible ordeal. The film seemed to end a bit abruptly but I suppose it’s good that it didn’t attempt some “Hollywood” ending. Overall, it’s a good film. It’s just not really my type of genre. Sorry… It’s not bad! I do recommend it if it IS the sort of movie you tend to go for. Hanks is the definite highlight of the film.

My Rating: 6.5/10

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