Sunday, August 05, 2007

movie - The Bourne Ultimatum


This was the most anticipated film for myself and a lot of people, this year. It was pretty good but borrowed scenes from previous films, which took the wind out of the sails, to some extent.

The agency thinks Bourne is going to talk to the media about their secrets, so they begin to track him down again. Some scenes are similar to ones in the last movie. In the second film, there's car chase that results in the bad Russian agent getting all smashed up in a car and Bourne walks by without killing him. There's a similar scene here.

Whenever Bourne attacked his enemies with using hand-to-hand combat, even when he was outnumbered, the audience cheered.

One of the baddies died in a quiet sort of way that was anti-climatic for me, considering the effort they put into the scrap.

The film starts out with a newspaper reporter mentioning the name of CIA operation on his cell. Within minutes, the agency has him tracked by a team of agents. Key words are picked out of phone calls if they match terms in a "dictionary" and then the caller can be discreetly surveilled to see if the person is up to no good. This is the ultra-secret Echelon system in action which is real and has been around for about 40 years or so. It's fascinating but it also represents the thin edge of the wedge known as the police state, which the public will eventually demand as we are continuously told that we should be scared and that the umbrella protection of surveillance will protect us.

Director Paul Greengrass continues to incorporate the hand-held jery camera, which either adds an element of immediacy or is just plain annoying, depending on your perspective.

Some of the scenes are riveting. Witness Bourne directing the newspaper journalist through a croweded transit station, telling him to drop and tie his show laces right when the bag guys are zeroing in, only to throw them off the trail again.

I haven't read the Bourne books, but this film sounds a bit different from the book in that he's apparently on the hunt for Carlos the Jackal and it takes place 15 years since book 2. I could be wrong.

I wonder what will come along to be the next interesting spy film series. The Bourne Ultimatum makes the latest Die Hard film seem cartoonish in comparison.

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