Every chance I get to sing the praises of Matt Damon (most recently of Ocean’s 13), I exercise the opportunity. Initially overshadowed by best buddy Ben Affleck upon his introduction to mainstream Hollywood, Damon has quietly gone about the business of churning out one stellar performance after another, from The Talented Mr. Ripley, to Rounders, to The Departed. Frequently overlooked in favor of flashier but equally talented co-stars (think about the Ocean’s movies and DiCaprio in The Departed ), Damon is still a smidge underrated. Until his name is bandied about in Oscar contention (for his acting, I know he won an Oscar for his screenwriting), I will champion him as an underdog, strange as that might sound.
All of this background opinion brings me to his latest effort, The Bourne Ultimatum. Damon reprises the role of Jason Bourne, rogue covert spy with a spotty memory. Still trying to fill in the gaps of his past identity, Jason must track his former agency’s higher-ups in a quest to glean info about his past. What I enjoyed about the movie from a plot perspective was that its writer(s) managed to put a new twist on the old idea. We already know from the first two movies (The Bourne Identity and Supremacy, respectively) that Jason discovers he is a trained operative, but this third piece of the trilogy examines how the answer to a riddle is another riddle in and of itself.
Frenetically paced and suspenseful, The Bourne Ultimatum was everything I knew it would be. Bourne is always one step ahead of his adversaries – impossible to kill because he’s as adept at using his brain as he is his fists. The hand-to-hand combat scenes were brilliantly choreographed and realistically enacted, and Damon once again demonstrates his range in great fashion. A true action flick that doesn’t rely on explosions or cheap thrills, The Bourne Ultimatum is easily the best film of its kind to be released this summer. Sorry Bruce Willis.