Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Do you even know why you're supposed to kill me? Look at us. Look at what they make you give.

No 234 - The Bourne Ultimatum
Director - Paul Greengrass

Yes... we've reached Bourne Three, thus allowing me to start the blog on an EXCELLENT musical pun. Thank you.
Much in the same way that Bond always begins straight in the middle of the action, with a mission that's not been followed from the start, so to does this Bourne adventure begin straight in the middle of a pursuit.
You have to feel sorry for Bourne. All he wants is to live a quiet life and slowly piece his identity together and he's always being chased. It doesn't even matter how many shady government agencies he topples - he remains on the most wanted list of almost every police force in the world. So here he is - broken, battered and bruised - on the run from the police. Same old, same old. Somehow he escapes and he makes it to lovely old London.

So, what is it causing the shit to hit the fan this time? Its none other than Paddy Considine. This time we get our third mysterious government program - Blackbriar, and it seems that the Bourne trilogy has finally got to the centre of what happened to its protagonist. There are lots of little touches within this film that also show how Bourne has developed. He has always been a badass, destroying squads of police with nothing but a biro. But here, he is navigating the entire CCTV system of London Waterloo as well as protecting a civilian from an entire crack squad of government agents working for Blackbriar - the big bad, the heart of all Black Ops.

It is otherwise business as usual for the film. We get a lot of running around. We get a car chase and many a fight scene and we get a look at a government agency that can essentially access and manipulate anything in the world. It is a conspiracy theorist dream.

However, there is a new addition to the film - and it is something that seems to have become a legal requirement for modern action films. Ever since Parkour exploded into the UK, it has appeared in almost every film. A foot chase isn't a foot chase unless you're leaping off walls, through windows and landing on perilous little ledges. Action sequences don't count unless you've got people jumping off buildings these days

Ultimatum mostly takes place between the penultimate and final scenes of Supremacy... building around the idea of Bourne finding his real name and remembering everything. It is the film where (at last.....) Bourne gets a bit of support as previous characters realise that maybe he isn't hunting them down. Maybe they should help him.

There are echoes of the first two films which sit nicely within the film and don't take the audience out of the story. The question asked in this blog's title is asked by Bourne but was initially a statement from Clive Owen's The Professor. Albert Finney takes on Brian Cox's mantle of the crotchety old man at the heart of the operation and the final shot is a glorious subversion of the first film's opening shot.

Even Moby has been tweaked about and reissued when we fade out to Moby

Incidentally.... there is talk of a 4th film. The Bourne Legacy. It will be starring Jeremy Renner and it wouldn't actually feature Bourne. This sounds like risky business if ever I've seen it.