In this high-tech digital age, the makers of high-profile action movies sometimes like to brag about how they used real cars and real stunts—even when some of the defining images in their films couldn't possibly exist without pixels on a screen. (Yes, Live Free or Die Hard, I'm pointing at you and that spinning airborne car that just happens to miss our hero by a hair.) But every now and then, along comes a film that really seems to have happened in front of the cameras—and The Bourne Ultimatum is just such a film.
The action scenes in this, the third and apparently final installment of the Bourne series, may have had a digital assist here or there, but if they did, you never notice. What you do notice is the constant action, the fights and chases, and the cars that seem to crash not just into each other but, at times, into the cameras themselves. If the pictures weren't staying in focus, there are times you'd swear the lens itself was contributing to the showers of shattered glass.
As before, the film concerns Jason Bourne (Matt Damon), a former CIA assassin who lost his memory after a botched hit job. The first time we saw him, in The Bourne Identity, he was floating in the water, and the new film makes much of the role that water has played throughout this series, visually and symbolically, as an agent of forgetfulness but also of renewal, as an agent of death but also of life.
In the first film, Bourne emerged from the water with killer reflexes and no memory of his past, and his amnesia, combined with the humanizing friendship that developed between him and a German civilian named Marie Kreutz (Franka Potente), gave him the opportunity to put away the old man and become someone better, someone new—water ...1