action, movie, movie review, mystery, thriller

Flashback Review: June 2nd, 2014 Movie – The Bourne Ultimatum

the bourne ultimatum

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

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action, movie, movie review, thriller

Flashback Review: June 1st, 2014 Movie – The Bourne Supremacy

the bourne supremacy

Well, I just have one month of flashback reviews to go, then the couple of movies I have bought this year and I will be able to take my break. Now for the matter at hand, this was yet another movie whose trailers had piqued my interest but I did not see in theaters. In fact, I didn’t see The Bourne Supremacy until I rented it along with The Bourne Identity several years after they had come out on video. Now obviously I wanted to watch it, and my buying the movie not withstanding, but the question remains as to just how good of a movie this actually was.

The plot: Two years after the events in Paris, Jason Bourne is living in Goa, India with his girlfriend Marie. Bourne still can’t remember everything about his past with Treadstone but sometimes, he has flashbacks of things when he dreams and has taken to writing them down in a notebook. Elsewhere, CIA Deputy Director Pamela Landy is in Berlin overseeing a $3 million payoff to a Russian source who has with him the “Neski” files, details about a $20 million theft several years ago. As the source arrives at the building and makes contact with Pamela’s buyer, Kirill, a member of Russia’s Federal Security Service, plants some explosives on the power junction box, planting a fingerprint on one of them. Kirill then sets off the explosives, with the one that has the fingerprint planted on it failing to detonate, then heads up to the now darkened room, where he kills the source and everyone there, then takes the money and files. The next morning, Kirill meets with Russian oligarch Yuri Gretkov, who gives him his payment for the files, then tells Kirill he will get the rest when he finishes his job, passing him the information on his next target. Some time later, Kirill arrives in Goa and asks the manager of the telegraph office if he has seen Bourne, but Bourne spots him and, figuring that Kirill is after him, quickly heads back to his home to get his jeep. Driving into town, he sees Marie at a diner and honks his horn to pick her up, telling her that their blown, and spots Kirill on the nearby beach. Believing Treadstone is after them, Bourne drives off with Marie and after he manages to lose Kirill, he has Marie switch places so she is driving. They head for a nearby bridge, where Bourne plans on jumping out so that he can ambush Kirill when he follows after Marie but Kirill had gone to a nearby hill and fires at the car, hitting Marie and causing the jeep to crash off the bridge and into the river below. Bourne survives the crash and after getting Marie’s body out of the car, he kisses her goodbye before letting her float to the surface while he swims off in another direction. Back in Berlin, the investigation team finds the fingerprint on the explosive and when Landy’s team goes to match it, they find themselves blocked by a demand for clearance due to the print being flagged by Treadstone so she orders her team to head back to Langley. Kirill heads back to Russia and meets with Yuri to tell him Bourne is dead and Yuri gives him the rest of his money, telling him he will contact him in a month. Back in Goa, Bourne watches as Marie’s body is fished out of the river, then heads home, grabbing all of the weapons and supplies he stashed there, burning several of his fake passports and pictures, then leaves India. In Langley, Landy tells the director that she needs level 5 clearance so she can follow up on their lead and he gives it to her, allowing her to match the fingerprint to Jason Bourne. After reading up on the files, Landy meets with Deputy Director Ward Abbott and talks to him about Treadstone, Bourne, and Conklin but he doesn’t say much to her. Landy is attending a meeting with the Director and the other Deputy Directors, where she tells them about the theft of $20 million and how a Russian politician named Neski had contacted them and said it was an inside job but before he could give them the information, he was killed. The case had gone cold until their recent contact but he was apparently killed by Bourne, whom Landy believes was working with Conklin and had stolen the money, then killed anyone that could prove it. Meanwhile, Bourne is picked up and detained in Naples and when Landy hears this, she asks what assets they have there and rushes to contact the local police to let them know who they are holding. In Naples, Bourne is being interrogated by the local CIA agent when Landy’s assistant calls him to tell him about Bourne but when the agent hangs up, Bourne quickly knocks out the agent and the guard watching him. Bourne then takes the agent’s phone and copies the sim card before grabbing his stuff and leaving, blocking the door so they can’t follow him. As Bourne gets in the agent’s car, Landy calls the agent and Bourne is able to listen in, learning about his being blamed for the deaths in Berlin and that Landy is the one looking for him now. Landy is heading back to Berlin, and the Director orders Ward to accompany her so they can finally capture Bourne. Bourne heads to Berlin and as he does, he has another flashback from an assignment Conklin gave him. Meanwhile, Ward heads to the Netherlands to pick up Nicky Parsons, Bourne’s Treadstone handler in Paris, and Landy questions her about Bourne and Treadstone. Elsewhere, Bourne heads to Munich, where Jarda, another former Treadstone operative, lives. Bourne subdues Jarda and questions him about Conklin and Treadstone and learns that Conklin is dead and Treadstone has been shut down. When Jarda apologizes, Bourne realizes that he must have somehow contacted the CIA and goes to leave when Jarda attacks him. Bourne manages to kill Jarda, then rigs the house to explode just as the CIA show up. Bourne then heads to the Berlin Airport and after placing some of his items in a storage locker, he calls several hotels until he finds the one that Landy is staying in, then figures out who she is and follows her to the Berlin office. As Landy, is speaking with her team about Bourne, Bourne heads to a nearby rooftop so he can observe Landy and her team, then calls Landy. As he talks with Landy, Landy’s comments prompt another flashback, causing him to hesitate. As Bourne recovers, he notices Nicky standing next to Landy and tells Landy he wants to come in but wants someone he can trust to bring him in. When Landy asks who, Bourne tells her Nicky and where to meet and when Landy asks what will happen if she can’t find Nicky that quickly, Bourne tells her that she is standing right next to her, revealing to all of them that he was watching them. Landy and her team work to figure out a plan for the meeting but Ward wants to use the opportunity to kill Bourne, prompting an argument between Landy and Ward. Nicky heads to the meeting spot and as the CIA agents keep track of her, a crowd shows up just as Bourne calls and tells Nicky to get onto an approaching tram. As the tram approaches it’s next stop, Bourne grabs Nicky and forces her off the train before Landy can have her men get her out of there, then starts questioning her about Landy.  When Nicky tells him about the matter in Berlin, Bourne tells her that he was in India watching Marie die when that happened. Bourne asks her what Landy was buying and when Nicky says information about Conklin and a Russian politician, Bourne recalls Neski’s name and asks Nicky when was he on assignment in Berlin but she tells him that he was never on a job here or if he was, it wasn’t in his file, and Bourne threatens to shoot her but then leaves, leaving her frightened in a bathroom stall. Landy, who had overheard everything Bourne had said due to Nicky’s wire, begins checking to see if what Bourne said is true, though Ward argues against it. Ward’s assistant, Danny Zorn, then has Ward follow him to where they botched buy occurred and tells him that he believes Bourne was set up to cover for someone else’s crime and Ward ends up killing him. Meanwhile, Bourne looks up the information on Neski’s murder, then heads to the hotel where the death occurred, remembering everything that occurred and how he killed both Neski and his wife. As Bourne is in the room Neski died in, the hotel manager had gotten the report to hold Bourne for questioning and calls the police, which alerts the CIA to where he is. Bourne makes his way to the roof and manages to get away from the hotel but when a patrol officer spots him, he is forced to make a run for it, eventually managing to get away by jumping onto a passing barge, then using a boat hook to grab onto the underside of a bridge as it passes underneath it, then climbing up the bridge and boarding a train. Landy and her team investigate the hotel when they learn about Danny Zorn’s death and Landy tells her assistant to stay on Bourne while she goes to see Ward. Meanwhile, Ward calls Yuri and tells him that the CIA is onto the Neski murder and that he needs to kill Bourne but Yuri says that he doesn’t need him anymore and then hangs up. As Ward hangs up the phone, he senses Bourne behind him as Bourne asks him why he killed Marie. Ward tells him it was an accident as he was supposed to be killed so that when the files went missing and he was blamed, the CIA would be chasing a ghost for years without learning his involvement. Bourne moves to kill him but then stops, saying that Marie wouldn’t want him to kill him, then stops the recording of their conversation and leaves. Later, Landy goes to Ward’s room to confront him about Zorn’s death and Ward tells her he isn’t sorry for what happened, then kills himself. Later, Landy is listening to the recording Bourne had made, as he had left it at the hotel addressed for her, and her assistant tells her that Langley wants to know what the update on Bourne is when her team sees Bourne boarding a train for Moscow and LAndy contacts the Russian Interior. In Moscow, Yuri approaches Kirill outside the club he had been in and tells him Bourne is alive. Bourne takes a taxi to an address just as the police arrive at the train station and start questioning people about Bourne, eventually learning where he went. Bourne arrives at the address he wanted and as he asks where the Neski’s daughter is, he learns that she had moved out of the city. When his taxi suddenly takes off, Bourne realizes the police are close by and he rushes off before they can get there. Kirill is driving to the location when he spots Bourne and he quickly gets out of his car and shoots at him, hitting him in the shoulder, but the police show up and detain Kirill, allowing Bourne to get away. Bourne tries to evade the police but then ends up in a brief altercation before stealing a cab and driving off. As he works on stopping the bleeding in his shoulder, Bourne drives through traffic and manages to elude his pursuers until Kirill catches up to him but Bourne manages to shoot out Kirill’s tire, then force him to crash into a barricade. An injured Bourne gets out of his car and approaches Kirill only to find him near death and he quickly leaves the scene. As Landy arrives in Moscow and helps the FSB arrest Yuri, Bourne heads to where Neski’s daughter lives and breaks into her apartment to wait for her. When she arrives home, Bourne tells her that her mother didn’t kill her father and then kill herself like the papers said, but that he killed them and staged the scene, then apologizes for the pain he caused her as he leaves. Some time later, Landy is in her office in New York City when she receives a call from Bourne, asking her why she is still looking for him. Landy thanks him for the tape that he sent her that closed the case on the Neski files and Bourne goes to leave when Landy stops him. Landy then tells him his real name is David Webb and gives him his birth date and hometown and asks him to come in but Bourne doesn’t respond for a while, then tells Landy to get some rest as she looks tired, revealing he had been watching her when he made the call.

The Bourne Supremacy met with mostly favorable reviews from the critics, holding a certified fresh rating of 81% on Rotten Tomatoes. The critical consensus on the site is, “A well-made sequel that delivers the thrills.” To give this movie its gritty, documentary-style appearance, director Paul Greengrass used mostly handheld cameras, and a muted color palette. Greengrass also made sure to avoid computer graphics at all costs, and all of the stunts shown in the movie were achieved practically.The movie was a box office success, earning $288.5 million off of a $75 million budget.

I have to say, I honestly liked this movie a little better than the first one. I thought the acting was good, with Matt Damon doing a great job reprising his role as Jason Bourne. I also thought Brian Cox (Ward) and Julia Stiles (Nicky) were good as well, while Joan Allen made a great new foil for Bourne, though she seemed to also be somewhat of an ally at the end. Though it differed from the book that it was titled after, the plot was actually pretty good. The only problem I had with it is that they seriously had this set up as the middle part of a trilogy, without really announcing that there was going to be a trilogy. Everything in the movie seemed to be set up to give more background into Bourne’s past with Treadstone, while the ending was a total set up for a future movie. The action scenes were incredible and definite some of the best coordinated stuff I had seen in a while, at that point in time. The fact that they didn’t use any CGI in the movie really made them seem that much more impressive. A great movie and definitely an outstanding follow up to the original movie.

Rating: 4 out of 5

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