The Bourne Ultimatum

Release Date: August 3, 2007

Movie of the Day for Saturday, June 30, 2007
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Bourne is thoughtful. Right before he explodes.

On the Big Board
Position Staff In Brief
1/46 Les Winan Legitimately pulse-pounding from start to finish. Damon remains excellent in the role. A terrific film.
1/214 Max Braden A great improvement over Supremacy, though you still need to sit far back from the screen. Thank Greengrass and composer Powell for the driving pace.
1/34 Dan Krovich The capper to perhaps the best trilogy ever.
7/48 Kim Hollis Satisfying end to a magnificent trilogy. This new breed of action film is the gold standard.
8/94 Shane Jenkins The best installment of an amazingly strong trilogy.
10/50 Michael Bentley The smart, well-paced action film is a nice finale to the saga.

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No one likes being an amnesiac. Even veteran soap opera actors recognize how contrived such storylines are in this day and age. Back in 1980, however, Robert Ludlum came up with a fertile new approach to the premise. His idea was to have his main character, Jason Bourne, behave as something of a reverse sleeper agent. Rather than suddenly awaken to knowledge of who he was and what his mission was, Bourne experienced the reverse effect. After perfecting his craft as a merciless assassin and major military asset of one of the more subversive departments of the federal government, Bourne suddenly experienced a moment of hesitation.

As masterfully portrayed in the 2002 theatrical adaptation of The Bourne Identity, the lead character developed a conscience at the worst possible moment. Faced with the assigned task of slaying deposed African dictator Nykwana Wombosi, Bourne flinched. Wombosi was humanized by the fact that he held one of his children in his arms when the assassin boarded his yacht. Seeing father and child, Bourne is unable to accomplish his mission, instead of being shot multiple times as he flees the boat. The end result is that one of the most dangerous men the world has ever known awakens with no idea of who he is or what he is capable of doing.

World-wide reception to The Bourne Identity was unexpectedly positive. Lead actor Matt Damon had been fighting a Hollywood perception that he could not open a title to major office. The spy movie's $27.1 million debut altered that perception as did the even more impressive final domestic box office total of $121.5 million as well as worldwide receipts of $213.7 million. What caught movie observers particularly off-guard, however was the lasting appeal of The Bourne Identity. It went on to become the most popular DVD of 2003, and its sequel, The Bourne Supremacy, opened almost twice as big - $52.5 million - on its way to a domestic total of $176.0 million and worldwide receipts of $279.7 million. That's almost $500 million in world-wide box office for the first two releases in the Bourne franchise.

Obviously, these numbers mean a sequel is forthcoming. This is made easier by the fact that Ludlum wrote three Bourne novels. The final one is The Bourne Ultimatum, and it is being adapted for theatrical release in the summer of 2007. The catch this time is that Jason Bourne will be a reverse sleeper agent no more. Instead, one of the key points in the plot is that the man who needed another person, Pamela Landy, to tell him his real name suddenly has an epiphany. All at once, 30 years of memories come flooding back to him at once, making Bourne more dangerous than ever. He now recalls specific details about any number of black ops missions he performed while working for the CIA's Treadstone iniative.

Aiding him in his discovery is a new character, journalist Simon Ross (Paddy Considine of Cinderella Man). Also returning is Pam Landy (Joan Allen), who offers asistance to Bourne. Given their encounters in the last movie, however, Bourne is not certain she is trustworthy. What he does know for sure is that a man named Paz is chasing him, and the guy sure seems to know the Treadstone op playbook by heart. Even worse, shadowy government official Vosen (David Strathairn) is seeking to put an end to Bourne so that he can re-start the Treadstone project with a new name, Blackbriar, and a new batch of recruits. Bourne must stop Vosen before another group of men are forced to endure the same atrocities he committed during his time as a trained assassin. (David Mumpower/BOP)

Vital statistics for The Bourne Ultimatum
Main Cast Matt Damon, Julia Stiles, Joan Allen
Supporting Cast David Strathairn, Paddy Considine, Edgar Ramirez, Trevor St. John
Director Paul Greengrass
Screenwriter Tony Gilroy, Tom Stoppard, Scott Burns, Paul Attanasio
Distributor Universal
Trailer Click Here for Trailer
Official Site
Screen Count 3,660
Also see How Well Do You Know: The Bourne Identity
How Well Do You Know: The Bourne Supremacy
Matthew Huntley reviews The Bourne Ultimatum
Awards Awards page for The Bourne Ultimatum
Talent in red has entry in The Big Picture



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