Communicator (communicator) wrote,
Communicator
communicator

The Bourne Ultimatum

I went to see The Bourne Ultimatum last night with my son. He's taking antibiotics (just an infected finger) and he feels a bit grotty, and he actually slept though most of it. In contrast I liked it a great deal. I think opinion is very divided on the slippery docu-camera style used by Paul Greengrass. I like it. Abigail isn't so sure. Abigail found the fighting and violence dour and attributed this to Greengrass' desire not to make us think that violence is fun. In contrast I thought the violence was great fun.

There are two types of fighting in the Bourne films. Firstly when one of the special assassins, particularly Jason, fights ordinary goons: though massively outnumbered he engages like a kind of whirlwind at a speed and complexity which is difficult to follow. Compared to a ninja film you can believe one man can take on a small army and win. The second type is where two of the special assassins fight, like two specialists. There were a couple of excellent examples in The Bourne Supremacy, and this film follows on very much in style and feel. These fights are I assumed speeded up by technical means, and they are exciting like a football match, like Alan Shearer knocking a ball through just the trajectory to miss all the flailing arms and legs and hit the goal. Another good aspect of the fight scenes is that they take place in cramped domestic and familiar settings, not the usual warehouse.

Similarly the chases use almost comically underpowered vehicles in bad traffic, with a brio that had me woop so loud I woke my son up.

The personal dynamics of the first scenes reminded me of Die Hard 4, with the brutal warrior protecting the weedy nerd (in this case a Guardian journalist - yay - with cameo role for uber-nerd Rusbridger). The scenes where Bourne steers nerd past the CIA killers in Waterloo Station was superb: another Shearer moment of precision in four dimensions ('duck now, turn left').

Next we go to an extended dynamic where Jason and The Women out-think The Man. Some people object to women being portrayed as clever and moral. I have no such objections. Also I love Joan Allen - even looking half starved. Give her a croissant.

Sometimes the precision was lost though. Sometimes Bourne lost it to the extent that he ended up with no better plan that running away at top speed, hoping the bullets would give him no more than a flesh wound. I don't want my hero to win only through a series of improbably strokes of good luck. I want him to survive because he's unnaturally brilliant.

Sadly, the resolution whereby powerful men's careers are destroyed because of public and official outcry that they have authorised the murder and torture of innocent people, 'even US citizens!' strains credulity even more than our hero leaping out of a car wreck and punching someone on the nose.

But - yeah - good fun.
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