Full confession time here. Today’s movie is the only movie in the franchise that I have ever seen in theaters. After renting the previous 2 movies, I knew that this would be worth going to see in theaters and I wasn’t wrong on that part. The funny thing is that even when the newer movies came out, I still didn’t go see them in theaters. Anyways, The Bourne Ultimatum came out at a time where a lot of changes were going on in my life so I really needed the brief distraction from reality that this provided me. Now to find out just how good of a movie it really is.
The plot: During the events in the previous movie, a wounded Bourne is attempting to evade the Moscow police before he makes it to a restroom so he can treat his wounds. As he is working, he has another flashback, this time of when he first started at Treadstone, just as two police officers enter the room. Bourne knocks out one of the officers, then points his gun at the other, who begs for his life, but Bourne says his argument is not with him, then leaves the room. 6 weeks later, Pamela Landy is in a meeting with CIA Director Ezra Kramer, where she plays the recording of Ward Abbott’s confession for him. Though Landy argues against it, Kramer feels that Bourne is still a serious threat to the agency and wants her to continue looking for him. Meanwhile, reporter Simon Ross meets with a source who gives him information regarding Bourne and Operation Blackbriar, the CIA program that replaced Treadstone. In Paris, Bourne goes to see Marie’s brother and tells him about her death. In London, Ross has just returned from his trip and phones his editor, telling him about the information his source gave him, unaware that the CIA had picked up his use of the word Blackbriar during his call and begin tracking him. At a CIA building in New York, Deputy Director Noah Vosen tells his men to keep tabs on Ross, bugging all of his phones and car, so that they can figure out who the source is, putting an asset on standby in case they need him. Meanwhile, Bourne is taking the train from Paris to London when he reads Ross’s article about him in the paper. Bourne contacts Ross at his office, calling someone else’s line to ensure that the CIA couldn’t listen in, then arranges to meet with Ross at Waterloo Station. Bourne arrives at Waterloo and purchases a pre-paid phone, then waits for Ross to show up. Ross leaves his office and as he hails a taxi, the CIA mobile team uses a mike to learn where he is going, then Vosen orders teams to get in position at the station, as well as calling in the asset, Paz. When Ross arrives at the station, Bourne watches him briefly then notices the CIA team getting into position. Walking past Ross and slipping the pre-paid phone in his pocket, Bourne calls him and alerts him to the CIA surveillance teams watching him, then gives him instructions on what to do. Bourne has Ross act like he is talking to someone at a bus stop and as the bus pulls up, he tells Ross to walk away, leaving the CIA to abduct the man he was supposedly talking too while Bourne takes out one of the surveillance operatives. Bourne meets up with Ross and starts asking him questions and Ross tells him about Blackbriar being the program after Treadstone and how his source knew Bourne. Bourne sees some agents coming and tells Ross to answer his phone as the walk away, allowing Bourne to direct him into avoiding the security cameras and agents looking for him. When Ross panics and deviates from where Bourne was directing him, Vosen and his team spot him and Bourne directs him to a place to hide as he works on taking out his followers but he ends up being spotted by one of the cameras. When Vosen realizes that Bourne is the one helping Ross, he tells his men to seal the exits and orders Paz to take out both Ross and Bourne. Bourne tells Ross to wait for him to make sure it’s safe but Ross refuses to listen and ends up leaving the store he is in, where Paz promptly shoots him. Bourne goes to Ross’s body and searches it, finding his notebook, and goes to leave when he spots Paz and tries to catch him but is unable to stop Paz from boarding a train. Later, Bourne heads to an internet cafe to look over Ross’s notes and when he sees mention of a company and that it is located in Madrid, he leaves the cafe to head there. Meanwhile, Ross’s source hears news of Ross’s death on the television and he quickly opens his safe and grabs the money inside before quickly leaving. The next day, Vosen meets up with Landy, who had been ordered to assist him in finding and capturing Bourne, but Landy and Vosen have differing opinion on how they should handle things. As Landy and her assistant Tom Cronin head to the office and begins coordinating with Vosen’s men, the determine that Bourne was not the source for Ross’s information. Realizing that whoever Ross had spoken with had a high security clearance, Landy is able to determine that the leak was Neal Daniels, a section chief in Madrid, and Vosen orders a heavy team to be sent there, telling Landy that Bourne is probably heading there as well. In Madrid, Bourne reaches the address for the company and determines that it was a CIA office. As he looks around, he notices a picture on the ground of Daniels as well as another man, causing another flashback. When he recovers, he realizes that the CIA team is there and he sets a trap to take out the two men but when a third person shows up, Bourne goes to meet them at the door and is shocked to find it is Nicky Parsons, who was stationed there after her run in with Bourne in Berlin. Bourne starts to question her but Vosen calls and Nicky answers the phone. Vosen gives her a call sign and when Nicky gives the all clear response, Vosen asks her about the men, Daniels and Bourne. Landy then talks to Nicky and tells her they are still looking for Bourne but she doesn’t think he is a threat like others do. Vosen then tells Nicky to stay there and back up will be there in an hour but when Nicky hangs up, she tells Bourne they only have 3 minutes. She tells Bourne that she knows where Daniels is and Bourne calls the police to cause a distraction so the CIA won’t be able to follow them, then they leave and head for Tangier. Back at the office, Landy questions Vosen about what Blackbriar is and he tells her it is the umbrella that all of their Black Ops operations runs from. Elsewhere, Bourne and Nicky are waiting for the ferry to tangier and Nicky asks Bourne what brought him back. He shows her the picture from Daniel’s office and she recognizes Daniels but can’t place the other man. Bourne tells her that he met him when he first joined Treadstone and Daniels was the one to introduce him. Bourne then asks why she is helping him and she tells him that it was difficult with him, indicating that something happened between them before he lost his memory. Vosen’s team learns that Daniels is in Tangier and they send an asset there to kill him and when Landy learns about this, she tries to call Kramer but he refuses to take her call. Bourne and Nicky arrive in Tangier and after she gets online, she learns that Vosen has sent Desh to kill Daniels and Bourne has her redirect to meet with him so that he can follow Desh to Daniels. In New York, Vosen and his team notice Desh moving away from the target route but Vosen decides to let things play out. As Desh heads back towards Daniels, Vosen’s team discover the illegal breach and discover that Nicky had contacted Desh and Vosen orders them to send Desh after Nicky when he finishes with Daniels. Landy argues with Vosen about his ordering Nicky to be killed, claiming he doesn’t have the authority, but he tells her that he does and she storms out of the office. In Tangier, Desh receives his new instructions and notices Bourne following him as he continues on his route. When Daniels gets close to the bank, Bourne tries to get him to stop but realizes that Desh had left a bomb on the moped he had been driving and Desh activates it, killing Daniels and stunning Bourne. As Desh heads off to kill Nicky, Bourne recovers and grabs a motorbike, using it to escape from the police that had arrived. Meanwhile, Nicky realizes that Desh is coming after her and she leaves just as Desh arrives and he starts following her. Bourne arrives at the cafe Nicky was at and goes looking for them but is forced to run from the police as well. Bourne heads into an apartment and makes his way to the roof, where he spots Nicky and Desh on the street below. Bourne begins jumping from rooftop to rooftop to keep pace with Nicky and Desh, and when he spies them in another building, he leaps from the rooftop and crashes through the window to attack Desh and eventually kills him. Bourne has Nicky use Desh’s phone to signal that they have been killed and when it comes up on their screens, Vosen has his aide confirm the kills and keep an eye on Landy. He then calls Kramer to tell him of Bourne and Nicky’s deaths and Kramer tells him he can’t afford to let anything about Blackbriar come back to haunt him. Back in Tangier, Bourne helps Nicky to disguise herself and leave the city, telling her it gets easier over time to stay underground and hidden. Bourne then heads to the morgue to examine Daniels’ effects and as he sifts through the burned papers in his briefcase, he sees a sliver of paper from a CIA file from New York. In New York, Vosen is told that Desh’s body has been discovered and he realizes that Bourne and Nicky are still alive. Meanwhile, Cronin tells Landy that an early Treadstone passport linked to Bourne had just been scanned in customs in New York and he says that Vosen and his men don’t know about it because it was never used or activated before. Landy knows what Bourne is looking for so she calls the airport and pages the alias, attracting Bourne’s attention. Bourne heads to the building across the street from the CIA office and contacts Landy (the end scene from The Bourne Supremacy). Vosen is made aware of Bourne’s call to Landy and when he hears Bourne’s final words, he realizes that Bourne is in New York and organizes his team to locate him. Landy leaves the building, telling Cronin that if he sees her he will contact her. Bourne sees her leave, as well as Vosen’s men who are tailing her, and he sends her a text for a location to meet at. Vosen leads his team out to intercept Bourne and Landy at the meeting place but Bourne had used the text to get Vosen and his men out of the office, allowing him to enter. As Vosen and his team waits for Bourne, Bourne calls Vosen, getting his name on his recorder so he can open Vosen’s safe, then he taunts Vosen by saying he is in his office. Bourne then goes through the files for Blackbriar that Vosen was storing and leaves the office as Vosen calls his aide and tells him to check the office. Cronin goes to pick up Landy, telling her that Bourne had broken into Vosen’s office and she tells Cronin to take her to 415 71st Street, and Cronin realizes that she had secretly told Bourne that address, disguised as his birth date. Bourne leaves the CIA office but is spotted and forced to run, using the police to help him escape at one point. As Bourne speeds off in a stolen police car, Paz shows up and begins chasing after him, trying to kill him. Meanwhile, Vosen’s team discover that Landy gave Bourne the wrong birth date and when they tell Vosen, he realizes that she told him where the training facility is and sends his teams there. Bourne and Paz get into a wreck and Bourne goes to kill Paz but changes his mind and walks away. As he heads to the training facility, Vosen calls Dr. Albert Hirsch, the doctor that trained and conditioned Bourne, and warns him that Bourne is coming but Hirsch says he refuses to leave. As Bourne reaches the facility, he finds Landy waiting for him and he asks her why she helped him. She tells him that Blackbriar is not what she signed up for and he gives her the files he took from Vosen and tells her it is everything she needs to shut them down. As Bourne heads inside, Landy sees Vosen and his men arriving and she ducks inside as well, but not before Vosen spots her. Vosen and his team search for Bourne and Landy and Vosen finds Landy but is too late to stop her from faxing out the Blackbriar files to the press. Meanwhile, Bourne reaches the training room and finds Hirsch waiting for him. Hirsch talks with Bourne and as he talks, Bourne starts remembering some of his past and remembers that he had volunteered for Treadstone. As the CIA agents show up, Bourne makes a run for it and escapes onto the roof only to find Pax waiting for him. Pax asks Bourne why he didn’t take the shot and Bourne tells him “Look at us. Look at what they make you give.” Pax lowers his gun and Bourne runs for the edge of the roof, planning to jump into the East River below but as he jumps, Vosen shows up on the roof and shoots him. Some time later, Landy is testifying about the files she had faxed about Black Briar. Elsewhere, Nicky is watching a news report, which says that Kramer is under investigation for his part in Blackbriar, which had occasionally targeted U.S. citizens for assassination, while Vosen and Hirsch had been arrested for their roles. When the news report says that Bourne’s body had not been found after a 3 day search, Nicky smiles as she realizes that Bourne had survived and is still out there somewhere.
The Bourne Ultimatum met with high praise from the critics, holding a certified fresh rating of 93% on Rotten Tomatoes. The critical consensus on the site is, “The Bourne Ultimatum is an intelligent, finely tuned non-stop thrill ride. Another strong performance from Matt Damon and sharp camerawork from Paul Greengrass make this the finest installment of the Bourne trilogy.” The movie was a box office hit, earning $442.8 million off of a $110 million budget, making it the highest grossing movie in the franchise. The Bourne Ultimatum was the only movie to be nominated for an Academy Award and won in all three categories that it was nominated in; Best Film Editing, Best Sound Mixing, and Best Sound Editing.
In my opinion, this really was one of the best, if not the best, movie in the franchise. The acting was great, with Matt Damon (Bourne), Joan Allen (Landy), and Julia Stiles (Nicky) doing great jobs reprising their roles. I really liked David Strathairn, whose portrayal of Vosen made him a great protagonist against Bourne. The story was really good, doing a decent job of trying to tie up everything and not leave things too confusing. I did like that there was no real resolution to Bourne’s memory loss, as he regained a lot of his memory but still was spotty as to his time before Treadstone. I also liked the open ending it had as the fact that he survived meant he was free to come back for more movies, but it was not vital that he do so. The action and stunt scenes were just as good as the previous movies and I especially liked the early scene with Bourne leading Ross through the terminal to avoid the CIA while simultaneously taking out members of the team as it added a great bit of tension to make the scene more effective. A great movie and a good way to end the original trilogy of films.
Rating: 4 1/2 out of 5