The Bourne Ultimatum: Dumb Flick **OPEN Spoilers**

I’m working on a new rule of thumb: If a movie gets a score of 65 - 80 on Metacritic, then it’s probably good. If it’s 81+, it sucks.

The Bourne Ultimatum got an “85” score; the critics love it. I liked and remember the first of the three movies, liked but can’t remember the second (I think I saw it, didn’t I?), and hated the third: totally dumb flick.

I don’t believe there’s a control room like that anywhere in the room: They can see anything and everything in the whole world. They have access to cameras in a London train station. The have agents everywhere who can always give them a live feed lickety split. If there’s a cell phone, they can instantly tell where it is. In short, these spooks are omnicient.

Jason Bourne can oppose them, however, because he’s full of stunts. He can pick the lock instantly at a CIA office and disable the alarm–just like that. He can evade their infinite eyes. And he fights like a tiger!

There’s a lot of movie-style hyperactivity–“This is a national security emergency!”–as the main bad guy don’t you hate him? chases after this person and that and then Jason.

And I don’t have much more to say, because that’s pretty much what the movie is. A problem is set up for Jason–he solves it. He fights a fight. There’s another problem. Solved. It’s the same thing over and over for two hours.

And it’s supposed to be tuff and realistic but, at the end of the day, when a door is locked you can’t get in very easily. You can’t crack a safe easily. If you’re being chased by a ton of cops you can’t get away easily. You just can’t. A movie can have an internal logic in which these rules are violated, but the obstacles set up for the hero to overcome must have some interest within that logic. They don’t in this movie, and that’s why it’s a boring failure.

I’m guessing you weren’t a “MacGyver” fan, either.

I’ve never seen a single episode.

One was enough; they were all pretty much the same.

Camera shaking during a fight scene = dynamic cinematography

Camera shaking while characters check their Email = annoying

Suspension of disbelief is a useful tool in any movie goers arsenal. Embrace it.

I liked the movie. It was far from “awesome”, but I was entertained throughout.

Did you find the previous two movies to be more realistic?

If these things bother you, don’t read The Traveler by John Twelve Hawks. In it his spooks can access the cameras on any ATM and perform face recognition instantly to identify anyone.

I had a little trouble with his tech when reading it, but let it go for the sake of a good read. But then I found out he actually believes what he writes. :eek:

I agree about suspension of disbelief. That’s why I said that a movie must generate interest within its own logic. I think the flick in question failed to do this.

In the first film, his waking up to learn that he is a killing machine provides a ton of dramatic tension, and the plotting was much better.

I thought it was a very good flick. Not as good as the first one, but as good as the second. I enjoyed it quite a bit.

Yeah, I saw it on Friday and I thought it was a lot of fun, as well.

There are certain internal logic problems that have been discussed on this thread, but – while I agree that the level of omniscience is way overstated – the majority, if not all, of the technology shown in this movie exists and is usable.

Having the unlikely scenario of a few people in a room in NY with total control over the cameras at a London train station is simply a dramatic device that creates a villain worthy of Bourne’s attention/talents. IMHO, as far as big-budget action adventure spy-thrillers go, this one hews a lot closer to reality than most.

In fact, I think where it deviates the most from the real world is at the end, where the release of documents exposing a covert government assassination program with no official oversight actually leads to the arrest of high-level CIA officials.
That suggests a world way more fantastic than those depicted in Lord of the Rings or Harry Potter, and slightly more fantastic than the world Dan Brown writes from…

Nah, there was the one where McGuvyer escapes from a nameless Eastern European country with a credit card and a can of hairspray, and then the one where he escapes from a nameless Middle Eastern country with a Billy Joel poster and a roll of duct tape, and then the one where he escapes from some nameless Latin American country with hairbrush and a jar of baking soda. They’re all different, though oddly every country he goes to looks curiously like some of the seedier parts of San Clemente.

With regard to the o.p. and the supposed-realism of the film: are you kidding or what? The Bourne films were never intended to be realistic; while the cinematography and the action scenes are more gritty than standard Hollywood action fare, the plots are as absurd as anything dreamed up by 24 or Spooks writers, and in every film Bourne has taken an absurd amount of damage and worked his way through security systems and across borders with ridiculous ease. The notion that the CIA could or would execute a spur of the moment snatch and grab in the middle of downtown London, or snipe at a journalist in Waterloo station, or engage in a massive car chase and manhunt in the middle of Manhattan (where it has absolutely no authority or jurisdiction) clearly illustrates that the movie is in the realm of action-thriller with, analysts and controllers walking around with 9mms tuck in their waistbands, not the plodding dull reality of espionage and intelligence work where the biggest physical hazard is a paper cut and the danger is losing one’s pension.

Bourne sneaks into and out of places like the office (which is a front, not some official CIA operating station, and therefore somewhat more laxly manned) because that’s what he does, what they trained him to do. That is, frankly, part of the mystique of Bourne and the ubersecret black ops organization he has quit, just like how Bond can woo women so carelessly and dispatch half a dozen adversaries after spending an evening consuming vodka martinis. The Bourne films are pure escapism, and frankly I found the attitude of moral superiority of director Paul Greengrass of these films over the Bond franchise, as if a) any of these films had some deep significance or life-altering message, b) Bourne is some kind of paragon of virtue, and c) both these series are something other than intellectual puff pastry. This isn’t Graham Greene or John le Carre, with the story woven into a tapestry of social commentary and political criticism. The Bourne movies did create some amount of moral ambiguity in their hero (as did the recent Bond film) rather than making him a standard flawless action hero, but in the end he’s framed by enemies and superiors whose own motives make him the hero by default, which doesn’t leave the audience wondering about the morality of the protagonist any more than they do of Indiana Jones or Spider-Man.

That being said, this is clearly the weakest film of all three; the writing and plotting was lazy, with the gag of a contact who is killed off just before Bourne can extract information used again and again. In fact, the plot of the film is essentially pieced together from bits of the first two films, while neglecting the more clever, careful rolling out of revelations about this past in favor of brief expository breaks between frenetic action sequences. There was also a bit too much of the convenient appearance of characters just when needed for the plot, and the locating of incriminating documents in the safe of a high official was just dumb. What need would he have for these, and indeed, why isn’t all of the Treadstone information shredded and burned, or at least secured in some deep archive in a long storage warehouse, next to Rosebud and the Ark of the Covenant? And David Stratham, playing his stock greasy official who is just not quite bright enough to be in the position he’s in didn’t add any vermissilitude.

The first two films weren’t realistic, but they were reasonably intelligent, and didn’t cheat (mostly) when it came to Bourne picking through the clues to figure out his past. This one laid it all out on a map with a line going from Moscow to London to Madrid to Turin to New York. They might as well of just had a narrator explaining the whole thing. I think they also missed some opportunities to be clever; Nicky should have been the journalists’ contact with the station head having been a red herring. And they totally missed the chance to make a Vertigo homage with Nicky and her disguise. (There was just a glimmer of it, then she disappears from the story.) It just wasn’t that clever, and the chase scenes were good but not outstanding. (I’d also argue, as I did with the previous movie, that during the action scenes the shaky camerawork should be dispensed with; it’s the one place where Bourne absolutely knows what he’s doing, and the camera, like his response to violence, should be rock solid.)

Julia Stiles looks really cute as a brunette, though, so the film isn’t a total waste.