I’m getting seriously hyper about The Bourne Ultimatum. Why? Because, and I know this might seem a bit excessive, but with very few exceptions this is one of the few film franchises that so far has entirely delivered. And, I’m supremely confident that the Ultimatum will not only round out the summer blockbuster season on a high point , but also bring the series to a successful conclusion.
Somehow, until The Bourne Identity I never saw Matt Damon as the sort of actor who could hold a franchise together. But in one blinding moment of revelation it revealed Damon as an entirely new type of anti-hero, and a character as shocked by his own abilities as the audience. It also pointed up dramatically where the Bond franchise had effectively crashed and burned, grounding its reality in the machinations of modern espionage and presenting the hero as a man not out for revenge or to save the world, but just to know who he really is.
The first Bourne outing was refreshing and dynamic, full of unexpected turns and twists, and real excitement. Having pulled off that trick once, I couldn’t help but be mesmerised when they did it again with Bourne Supremacy. In the first ten minutes of the film one of the lead characters from the original story is dead. And from that point, any assumptions you had about where Bourne might take up went out of the window. The closer he gets to the truth the more uncomfortable it becomes. Not only for him, but for those that put him in harms way in the past.
Now Bourne is back for the third outing, and the hunters have become the hunted.
Sadly, Matt Damon has said there is no more Bourne from him, and as they’ve exhausted the original Ludlum novels it seems fitting. Yes, Eric Van Lustbader (no, I didn’t make that name up) has written The Bourne Legacy, and will soon publish The Bourne Betrayal. But I think they need to end this franchise on a high, before people start asking for another person, better script, or a reboot.
So when The Bourne Ultimatum opens here in a couple of weeks, I’ll be strategically positioned near the back of the auditorium, covering all the exits, and not watching with a telescopic range finder from the high building across the street….