Making the Grades
It's the third outing for Matt Damon's character Jason Bourne, a trained killer who has nearly no recollection of his past or how he came to be a one-man lethal weapon. As in the previous films, his goal is to fill in the blanks and determine why he is in this predicament.
Opening in Russia, Bourne is trying to avenge the death of his girlfriend, which he hopes will also shed some light on his identity. Following a lead to a CIA boss he believes may have approved Marie's (Franka Potente) permanent termination, the indestructible man makes his way to Spain. But instead of finding his man, he instead bumps into Nicky Parsons (Julia Stiles), another CIA member from his past, who is willing to overlook the determined former agent's tough exterior -- and loaded gun.
Putting her own career and life on the line, Nicky agrees to help Bourne find his forgotten years. However, the duo must first dodge complex surveillance tactics to avoid death from snipers, bombers and assassins. Meanwhile, back at home base in a New York City high-tech control room, CIA chief Noah Vosen (David Strathaim) is keeping very close tabs on the action overseas. Determined to rid himself of the problematic situation Bourne has created, he grants all operatives the right to shoot on sight. Looking over his shoulder is Pam Landy (Joan Allen), one of the original members of the team who enlisted Bourne. Like Agent Parsons, she too has a soft side for the man who knew too little.
As in the previous movies, you can expect non-stop action and suspense as we trail our hero across Europe and eventually back to the United States. Confrontations are numerous, as this seemingly invincible super-agent quickly takes down most of his aggressors with his bare hands, which minimizes the gun violence but certainly makes for some brutal attacks. When another highly experienced agent meets up with Bourne, the result is a very long bash-fest with a disturbing, audible strangulation. Eventually, the weapons begin firing as well, with a couple of shootings on screen (some blood shown) and countless more bullets flying aimlessly. Rounding up the mayhem is a myriad of highly intense car crashes and other death defying stunts.
Also similar to the last Bourne film, there is no sexual content in this script, and language is contained to somewhat frequent uses of mild and moderate profanities, along with terms of deity.
Considering these movies are based on a series of novels (by author Robert Ludlum), there is little story detail and development included. Instead, this is a film with a likeable, unstoppable hero who wants to find the truth about his past and reform his life. Suspenseful from the get-go, this well-executed title may be suitable for older teens -- but only if parents are comfortable with the violent content. Key in making the concept work is audience sympathy, and Matt Damon does a fine job of gaining that while taking us on a whirlwind adventure in his quest to become Bourne free.
Discussion Ideas After The Movie
Teaching ideas and topics to discuss about The Bourne Ultimatum.
This movie features a hero who is able to kill with his bare hands, resulting in some very brutal confrontations and in one case, strangulation. Does the more “intimate” nature of the two men beating each other to death seem more or less bothersome to you than violence with an arms-distant weapon, like a gun?
How does this movie solicit sympathy toward the hero from the audience? Why is this empathetic attitude key to making this film work?