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STAR RATINGS EXPLAINED
Unmissable 5 Stars
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Good 3 Stars
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Tragic 1 Star

POSTER ART
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FILM DETAILS
Certificate
12A
Cast
Matt Damon
Joan Allen
Julia Stiles
Edgar Ramirez
David Strathairn
Paddy Considine.
Directors
Paul Greengrass.
Screenwriters
Tony Gilroy
Scott Z Burns
George Nolfi.
Running Time
115 minutes

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The Bourne Ultimatum
The summer’s best blockbuster is finally here.


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Plot
With his fractured memory resurfacing and the CIA determined to keep him quiet, Jason Bourne (Damon) wants answers. He arranges to meet a British journalist (Considine), whose confidential source may hold the key to exposing Treadstone, the covert agency that trained Bourne, once and for all.


Review
The Bourne Ultimatum
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Not long ago it would have been tricky to imagine Matt Damon, the twinkly-eyed lad from All The Pretty Horses, playing a convincing action star. But five years, three films and scores of broken bodies later, it’s now all but impossible to think of him as anything else. The moment Jason Bourne’s almost-corpse was dragged from the Mediterranean in Doug Liman’s Bourne Identity, it became clear that the traditional thriller formula had slipped into anachronism. With Bourne, audiences were presented with a sharper, smarter and altogether more relevant breed of action thriller. That Paul Greengrass managed to create a sequel even more intense and technically proficient was nothing short of a movie miracle. And to those who questioned whether he could pull off the same trick twice, this third film answers with a resounding yes.
 
Picking up immediately after the Moscow-set showdown in Supremacy (the previous film’s coda is dropped in later), Ultimatum is less a sequel than the climax of a single, larger tale — and like all good adventure stories, the real excitement has been saved for last, as Bourne has given up his attempts to hide from the government agency that created him, and instead seeks answers/vengeance for their, and his, past crimes, with the help of Paddy Considine’s reporter. An early standout sequence, where Bourne directs Considine’s jittery Simon Ross through a crowd of hostile agents in Waterloo station, is so dazzlingly executed that you’ll be forgiven for assuming the film has peaked just 20 minutes in. But from there Greengrass sets an unrelenting pace, maintaining a baseline of buzzing adrenaline.
 
We have not one, but two blistering car chases to ensure that Bourne’s reputation for metal-wrenching pursuit remains unchallenged — but a frenetic foot chase across the rooftops of Tangier overshadows both. Part free-runner, part force of nature, Bourne hurdles from building to building, tumbling through open windows, living rooms and lives before exploding into the series’ most impressive fight sequence to date (two words: hardback book).
 
Throughout the taut, 115-minute runtime, Tony Gilroy, Scott S. Burns and George Nolfi’s globe-trotting screenplay ripples with invention, taking Bourne from Russia to Madrid, Paris, Morocco and ultimately New York. Joan Allen makes a welcome return as CIA investigator Pamela Landy, this time joined by an enjoyably amoral David Strathairn as the shifty CIA suit du jour. Less well utilised, though, is Albert Finney, whose appearance as Treadstone’s Mengele is tragically brief. Likewise Julia Stiles, despite a more substantial role, ends up feeling slightly redundant, with a clumsy attempt to tie her past more closely to Bourne’s perhaps the script’s only bum note.
 
Damon, however, has grown into his character like a second skin. His boyish good looks have hardened and, as never before, he is every inch the trained killer Robert Ludlum imagined. Nondescript in a crowd, cool without the need for quips and deadlier than a dozen Ethan Hunts, his Jason Bourne is surely the most efficient killer Hollywood has ever produced. It’s fitting, though, that, in his swansong, he is also at his most human, grasping at fragmented memories and emphasizing the underlying vulnerability that makes his character so convincing. His search for the truth of himself takes on an almost spiritual dimension — a mission to save his soul — and the answer at the end of the chase is as devastating as it is uncompromising. Greengrass is just genetically incapable of cliché.
 
In a summer of disappointing threequels, Ultimatum stands proud testament to the fact that great ideas don’t have to thin over time. Greengrass has surpassed himself with a compelling, immersive thriller that’s as exciting an experience as cinema can provide. And while it looks regrettably unlikely that The Bourne Legacy will ever make it to the screen, the legacy of Bourne is not something that will be soon forgotten.


Verdict
The best blockbuster of the summer and the most accomplished thriller since, well, Supremacy. This is the payoff Bourne fans have been waiting for and the standard to which future blockbusters should be held.


Reviewed by James Dyer

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Your Reviews

Average user rating for The Bourne Ultimatum
Empire Star Rating

How modern action-thrillers should be done

Supremacy may still be my favourite Bourne film, but this is very, very close. I'm about to use an overused phrase for threesome-capping movies, but this truly is the perfect end to a perfect trilogy. I remember seeing it three times at the cinema it was so bloody good. Even to those who've seen all three a million times, I'd recommend sitting down and watching them back-to-back as one long movie (if you haven't already). It's an amazing experience. I've done it thrice already and I'd happily... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by Mr Gittes at 01:32, 18 August 2013 | Report This Post


ULTIMATUM = EPIC

One of the best franchises ever made, a breathtaking trilogy, and a stunning conclusion! "The Bourne Ultimatum" can be one of the best trilogys ever made, giving a phenomenal show, ending in a fantastic way the journey of Jason Bourne (Matt Damon) after the truth. The story can be very loyal to predecessors and can mix a bit of "Identity" and "Supremacy", both at events and also the characters. The film starts in the middle and ends shortly after the end of "S... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by Ralph25 at 23:43, 11 April 2013 | Report This Post


A Classic End to a Classic Trilogy

Forget Bourne Legacy - just not in the same league really Fantastic x 3 for all of the films in this trilogy. They're intense, they're original while similar and they really pack the punch. This trilogy will stand alone as a real classic and it should be left alone. My personal fave is Supremacy but this should not detract from the other two in any way which stand well individually. In true modern day film production fashion, where the dollars dictate the production they have almost ruine... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by stwbs at 20:54, 19 November 2012 | Report This Post


A Classic End to a Classic Trilogy

Forget Bourne Legacy - just not in the same league really Fantastic x 3 for all of the films in this trilogy. They're intense, they're original while similar and they really pack the punch. This trilogy will stand alone as a real classic and it should be left alone. My personal fave is Supremacy but this should not detract from the other two in any way which stand well individually. In true modern day film production fashion, where the dollars dictate the production they have almost ruine... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by stwbs at 20:54, 19 November 2012 | Report This Post


The Bourne Ultimatum Review

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. ... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by the film man at 17:16, 15 January 2012 | Report This Post


RE: Thank you Paul and Matt

Arial"]I'm watching it again - Jason Bourne Rocks! r] ... More

Posted by Snake-Eyes at 23:33, 23 September 2009 | Report This Post


RE: The final and the best

I just caught it on DVD today and thorougly enjoyed it.    I thought the first movie was excellent, but felt the story in the second was weak.  The third has completely made up for that disappointment and rounded off the trilogy nicely.    One minor quibble - what has Paul Greengrass got against using stedicam?  Watch either of his Bourne movies after a drink and you'll be suffering motion sickness.  ... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by davidjthomson at 15:02, 27 February 2008 | Report This Post


RE: The Best Bourne and more...

L: bozo L: jonjon2nd rne Ultimatum shoots straight into the running for best action movie everction just has such a unique flavour and gritiness about it, its just plain back to basics action that gets your heart pumping. Greengrass and Damon well done. ally can't understand this. Why is everyone so impressed by this mediocre film, with its ridiculous plot, average performances and big fat turd for a director? sp; Hahahahahaha! Cool, all very important BUT! Where the f... More

Posted by Rumble Jack at 20:30, 05 January 2008 | Report This Post


RE: Rather underwhelmed..

I think that Empire were somewhat over the top in choosing it as the best film of the year. However, I enjoyed it enormously. It's by far the best of the three Bourne films, it carries one along at breakneck speed, it's exciting and well acted by all of the cast, particularly Matt Damon who proves once again why he's become an actor whom I admire greatly. I bought a copy of the DVD a couple of days ago and watched it again that night. It was just as enjoyable the second time around. ... More

Posted by siegfried at 01:19, 05 January 2008 | Report This Post


RE: The Best Bourne and more...

L: jonjon2nd rne Ultimatum shoots straight into the running for best action movie everction just has such a unique flavour and gritiness about it, its just plain back to basics action that gets your heart pumping. Greengrass and Damon well done. sp; ally can't understand this. Why is everyone so impressed by this mediocre film, with its ridiculous plot, average performances and big fat turd for a director? ... More

Posted by bozo at 15:08, 04 January 2008 | Report This Post


RE: bourne 3 review

Good, but not worthy of a 5 star orgasm.... ... More

Posted by CORLEONE at 13:06, 02 January 2008 | Report This Post


RE: bourne 3 review

Edit; that was long winded. ... More

Posted by sphincter at 21:03, 01 January 2008 | Report This Post


RE: bourne 3 review

L: sphincter You like Titanic and Tom Cruise...i]Titanic Oh, right.  You mean that movie for which that director...what's his name...Cameron something...won an Oscar for best director and best picture?  Plus nine others.  Yeah, I like it. What's your point? And Tom Cruise?  Did you effing a Or ral Or the Fourth of July Or were you too busy preparing to ejaculate over Paul "God, someone stop my hand from shaking and hand me a real script" Greengrass's ed Ult... More

Posted by max314 at 16:21, 30 December 2007 | Report This Post


RE: bourne 3 review

L: max314 L: therockincheeseman Its the best one yet. Its full of fast paced action. But, even thought I say that takes up until the scene at Waterloo station to get you into the feel of the film. Also the shaking camera scenes work to full affect unlike in king kong (2006) as the whole world gone mad? 5 stars? "The best action movie in decades"? If a bunch of contrived twists and a lot of shakey cam is all it takes to convince people they're watching a good movie, th... More

Posted by sphincter at 16:00, 30 December 2007 | Report This Post


RE: RE:

Below what? I hope not Blade. ... More

Posted by DanCurley at 15:40, 30 December 2007 | Report This Post


RE: RE:

L: DanCurley L: benadabec Surely now a contender for the coveted "Best Trilogy Of All Time"? Back To The Future gets that award. did a thread in lists and top 10s a few months back called a Trilogy of Trilogies talking about the three best trilogies. Bourne was at #3. ... More

Posted by homersimpson_esq at 15:15, 30 December 2007 | Report This Post


RE: bourne 3 review

SPOILER ALERT   The only beef I've got with this film is the ending. Think Empire's review said it was "devasting". Well, they were right, it was devasting because it didn't actually have one. "You volunteered Jason" to which Bourne should have replied "Oh, I did? Sorry, thought I might have been kidnapped or something... sorry about this fella, I'll be off then... you fancy a pint later?"   Nonetheless - it is a truly electrifying film. The Waterloo and Tangiers scenes a... More

Posted by DanCurley at 15:14, 30 December 2007 | Report This Post


RE: bourne 3 review

L: therockincheeseman Its the best one yet. Its full of fast paced action. But, even thought I say that takes up until the scene at Waterloo station to get you into the feel of the film. Also the shaking camera scenes work to full affect unlike in king kong (2006) as the whole world gone mad? 5 stars? "The best action movie in decades"? If a bunch of contrived twists and a lot of shakey cam is all it takes to convince people they're watching a good movie, then I am convin... More

Posted by max314 at 15:04, 30 December 2007 | Report This Post


RE: RE:

L: benadabec Surely now a contender for the coveted "Best Trilogy Of All Time"? sp; Back To The Future gets that award. ... More

Posted by DanCurley at 12:53, 30 December 2007 | Report This Post


RE: The Bourne Ultimatum.

L: Empire Admin Post your comments on ticleote] What a silly, silly verdict.  Shameful review. rne Ultimatumt its very best - nothing more than an above average spy thriller. An average and predictable plot, weak cinematography, ropey characters and an incessant "been there, done that" feeling that pervades the film all ensure that this film is not a 'classic' by any stretch of the imagination. rne Identity far the best of the series, and that wasn't a cla... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by max314 at 21:56, 29 December 2007 | Report This Post


RE: RE:

The best film I've seen in a long time, and one of the best films I've ever seen! The trilogy just got better with each film, and I used to beleive the second was unbeatable. Oh how I was wrong. Oh and contrary to my mates, I loved the ending. Full on 5 stars. ... More

Posted by discodave101 at 22:29, 22 December 2007 | Report This Post


RE:

How can anyone praise this ridiculous film is beyond me. It should have been called Jason Bourne is SUPERMAN. ... More

Posted by bozo at 23:35, 21 December 2007 | Report This Post


RE: brilliant

I think that The Bourne Ultimatum is the best film in the trilogy and I am hoping that a 4th Bourne film is made. ... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by Chris66 at 17:00, 17 December 2007 | Report This Post


RE: brilliant

First of all I would say that this one of the best movies I have seen this year.   Matt Damon is simply briliant as the insanely tough secret agent. The Waterloo scene I thought was standout with Bourne guiding the reporter to avoid surveillance always being one step ahead. And that is one of the main thing I liked about Bourne in this movie is that you can see him always thinking planning or fighting to make his escapes.   The fight scenes are great and remind of the Cas... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by shool at 09:36, 17 December 2007 | Report This Post


RE: The emperor’s new clothes

I still maintain that Identity was better as a character piece AND an action movie, but Ultimatum kicked regal arse. **** ... More

Posted by Silvertouch at 10:21, 28 October 2007 | Report This Post


More user comments

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