"Cutting Edge for Aging Boomers"
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Although there are points where it lags, THE BOURNE ULTIMATUM is a four-star action thriller. The chase scenes are terrific, though the fight scenes sometimes strain credulity. Audiences will walk out enjoying the action experience, but what is the message? The message is that the United States government is the root of all evil, or at least the bad guys within it. This negative message is balanced by an attempt at a moral worldview with repentance and forgiveness. Jason Bourne is trying to apologize to the families of the people he killed. Ultimately, however, finding his identity seems to solve his angst, and the issue of guilt, apology and the need for redemption fades.
(B, H, APAP, P, LLL, VVV, M) Attempt at a moral worldview in an immoral world with violent eye candy and humanist underpinnings, though the hero wants to apologize and repent, plus strong bashing of the United States with the villain being the CIA, the villains are stupid, the whole American government is riddled with bad guys, mitigated by some traditional American principles regarding law and justice; 5 obscenities and 8 profanities, but hero does not use any foul language; very strong action violence with numerous shootings, car crashes, bombs, beatings, fights, drownings, torture, beating women, with surprisingly little blood; kissing but no sex; no nudity; drinking; no noticeable smoking; and, stealing, lying, cheating, espionage, secrecy, computer hacking.
THE BOURNE ULTIMATUM is a high octane action filled spy thriller with a lot of eye candy that produces some oohs, aahs and cheers when Jason Bourne gets revenge on the bad guys in the CIA. That said, there are moments where the movie lags. What was surprising about the press screening is that the audience was so grey and old. Press screenings for HP, Transformers usually include a lot of youth. Halfway through, the revelation occurred to this reviewer that this aging baby boom audience were the ones who liked the self-hating, anarchistic, defeat the United States and strangely pacifistic plot.
For those who don’t know the story of the first two movies, Jason Bourne is a man without a memory. He is searching throughout the world to find out who he is and how he became such an adept killer. BOURNE ULTIMATUM answers those questions.
The movie opens in Moscow with a high octane chase as the CIA attempts to get rid of the rogue agent, Jason Bourne, played by Matt Damon. A reporter in London finds out about the CIA’s top secret assassin Black Brier Project from a deputy bureau chief with a conscience. The head of the CIA and his immediate deputy have been given great power to do what they want to stop terrorism. That includes assassinating their own people for little or no reason.
Pam, one of the top CIA operatives played by Joan Allen, believes Bourne is not out to make a lot of money by exposing the CIA nor to destroy the agency, but just wants to find out who he is. Part of his training as an assassin was a program of torture, brainwashing and drugs to remove all memories and turn him into a cold, calculating killing machine. Now, Jason has flashbacks of being tortured and fractured memories he is trying to repair.
Jason finds out about the reporter in London. The CIA, through wiretaps, finds out at the same time. The CIA kills the reporter. Jason finds out who leaked the story to the reporter, but the CIA kills the agent before Bourne can talk to him. Jason tracks down more leads about his identity. At the same time, Pam is wrestling with her conscience and trying to turn the CIA into a kinder, gentler, more pacifistic, sensitive organization.
The chase scenes in THE BOURNE ULTIMATUM are terrific. The fights are reminiscent of Bruce Willis where, against all odds, Jason Bourne defeats younger, meaner, tougher people than anyone can imagine. He can defeat a platoon of CIA agents, and He can outwit the entire CIA. At some point, one must wonder at the incredible improbability of this plot. Also, the action is so intense that the plot points are not in the right position to sustain complete interest in the movie. There are points where the movie lags. Whether a movie is action or a parlor drama, to sustain interest you must put the plot points in the right place.
That said, this is a four-star action thriller. Audiences will walk out enjoying the action experience, but what is the message? The message is that the United States government is the root of all evil, or at least the bad guys within it. If the U.S. would just adopt a kinder, more pacifist attitude, the whole world would be happy.
In the midst of this theme, Jason Bourne is trying to apologize to the families of all the people he killed. Ultimately, however, finding his identity seems to solve his angst, and the issue of guilt, apology and the need for redemption fades. This is too bad because the movie could have set up a very powerful story of the fallenness of mankind and the need for God’s forgiveness.