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Film / The Bourne Ultimatum

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"Someone started all this. And I'm going to find them."
Jason Bourne

The Bourne Ultimatum is the third entry in The Bourne Series, and the sequel to The Bourne Supremacy. Directed by Paul Greengrass, the movie was released on August 3rd, 2007.

Picking up where Supremacy left off, Bourne is on another mad chase - this time, it's to pick apart all of the loose ends about his identity and life, as he sets out to track down the source of the Government Conspiracy that made him into a weapon and caused all the trouble in the first place. This leads him through a series of individuals with the information he needs, and he picks up an unexpected ally in the computer specialist who had been in the background of the previous films. Cleverly retcons the second movie's final scene and thus takes place contemporaneously with part of Supremacy.

Followed by a Spin-Off, titled The Bourne Legacy, which doesn't star Matt Damon. The events of that film take place in the exact time as this film. A proper sequel, titled Jason Bourne, set twelve years after this film, was released nine years later, in 2016.

This film provides examples of:

  • Armor-Piercing Question: Bourne asks Paz "Do you even know why you're supposed to kill me?"
  • Ascended Extra: Nicky Parsons, played by Julia Stiles, was a more minor character in the first two films, almost a background character in the first and more of a glorified cameo in the second. Here she becomes his sidekick through most of the middle of the film.
  • Bad Boss: Landy's boss and Vosen conspire to put her in the operation to find Bourne only so that they can set her up to take the blame for the entire black ops project if it goes bad, leaving them free to continue the program under a different name.
  • Bathroom Brawl: The fight between Jason Bourne and Desh makes its way to the bathroom, where they use a towel and shaving razor to defend themselves, respectively. Bourne chokes him to death after he finally gets the upper hand.
  • Being Tortured Makes You Evil: During the movie, we get glimpses of the induction process Treadstone (and presumably Blackbriar) agents undergo. Specifically, Jason is told to murder a man, sitting in a room with a bag over his head, and every time he refused Jason had a bag put on his head and he was severely punished, vis-à-vis solitary confinement and waterboarding among other methods, until he finally broke and killed him. To twist the knife further, it seems that Jason, who volunteered, initially seemed to think the test was to not kill the man, given how soldier-like he took the orders.
  • Bloodless Carnage: When Jason kills the hooded prisoner in the training facility for his Treadstone initiation, there's no visible blood or wounds despite Jason shooting him at close range, which should've decorated the walls the man was against in red.
  • Bookends:
    • The Bourne Ultimatum ends with Jason Bourne being shot in the back, falling into water, and being lost and presumed dead by his pursuers. This directly mirrors the events preceding the first film, where we first see Bourne being rescued from the ocean, having been shot in the back and left for dead by Wombosi and his men.
      • For bonus points, the same music that was used for the first movie's scene is used again.
    • Also, Ultimatum ends with Landy closing off the events of the film in a government committee, in a nigh-identical fashion to how it's done in the first.
  • Burner Phones: We see Jason Bourne buy a prepaid cell phone, which he then smuggles into the pocket of a journalist with whom he wants to communicate. While the agents observing Bourne and the journalist are perfectly prepared beforehand to surveil the journalist's own phone, this new phone comes completely out of the blue from their perspective, and thus it takes them a while until they are able to track it down and to eavesdrop.
  • Dye or Die: Nicky dyes her hair dark when going undercover.
  • Fade to Black: As Jason Bourne is swimming away undetected into the darkness, the movie ends by doing this.
  • Freeze-Frame Bonus: While Bourne is reading the newspaper in the train, an article on the side mentions the Treadstone agent Jarda who was killed in the previous movie. His decidedly non-German name is explained by him being a Czech national who lived in Munich.
  • Immediate Sequel: The film starts where The Bourne Supremacy left off, with Bourne still chased by the police in Moscow and healing his injured shoulder.
  • Jitter Cam: A recurring element from Supremacy, but downplayed in comparison. Famously, the Tangier chase and Jason vs. Desh fight scene capping it off is often listed as the highlight of the movie, despite the chaotic camera work and editing.
  • Kansas City Shuffle: Bourne's bait-and-switch ploy to get the information on the Blackbriar project.
  • Karma Houdini: Paz, the asset who kills Simon Ross. He escapes, but returns in New York to kill Bourne. Jason beats him and has him at gunpoint, but decides not to shoot.
  • Live-Action Escort Mission: Bourne guiding Ross through Waterloo Station.
  • Mook–Face Turn: Paz just before the end of the movie. He has Bourne at gunpoint, distraught about Jason's decision to spare him earlier. Jason's Call-Back to what The Professor told him back in the first film ("Look at us. Look at what they make you give.") leads to Paz lowering his gun and letting Bourne go.
  • Murder Is the Best Solution: Vosen's answer to just about everything is "eliminate somebody".
  • Mythology Gag: One of the "terminated" victims' files from Vosen's safe has a picture of Richard Chamberlain, who played Jason Bourne in the 1988 adaptation of The Bourne Identity.
  • Never Found the Body:
    • At the very end of the film. This is how Nicky knows that Bourne is still alive.
    • Subverted earlier in the movie. Bourne is able to kill Desh before he can kill him or Nicky, and tells Nicky to report that they are dead. Vosen then sends men to find their bodies and confirm it.
  • Noodle Incident: Nicky's conversation with Jason implies then when they were both stationed in Paris they had a romantic relationship together.
  • Oh, Crap!: Vosen has three moments: when he realizes that Bourne's in his office, that Landy has faxed away all of the Blackbriar files, and earlier when Bourne gets himself caught on-camera helping Simon Ross:
    Vosen: Jesus Christ. That's Jason Bourne.
  • Product Placement: Among others are Norton Antivirus, Guardian newspaper, Motorola and Nokia phones, Mercedes and Volkswagen cars.
  • Retcon: Bourne's phone call with Pam was clearly taking place on a bright summer day in The Bourne Supremacy with no hint of any sort of urgency. Here it's moved to winter and as part of the final confrontation.
  • Safety in Muggles: Defied. Bourne has Ross go to Waterloo Station at its busiest time to try to throw off Blackbriar, but Vosen isn't deterred and has Ross assassinated nonetheless. Landy rebukes Vosen's rash actions later.
  • Simultaneous Arcs: It's hinted at in the prologue, which is an unseen event between the climax and denouement of Supremacy, but the entire movie takes between the climax and denouement of Supremacy. Some additional dialogue is given between Bourne and Landry's final exchange to facilitate a secret code and kicking off the climax of this film.
  • Soft Water: at the end of the film, Bourne survives falling from a 10 story building into water after possibly being shot. He was shown floating lifelessly for a few seconds, however, indicating he was stunned.
  • Super Window Jump: The signature scene in Tangiers has Bourne jump from a balcony straight through the window of another building. And at the very end of the movie, in a variation, Bourne jumps off the roof.
  • Teeth-Clenched Teamwork: Vosen and Landy clearly despise each other; he thinks she's too naive, she thinks he's way too bloodthirsty. Nonetheless, their boss has assigned her to assist the search for Bourne if only to set her up for the fall if it goes south.
  • The End of the Beginning: At the end of Ultimatum, Jason Bourne is no more, and David Webb has more or less taken his place.
  • Theme Music Power-Up: Downplayed. At the end of the movie, Bourne jumps off a building, possibly getting shot in the process, and lands in the water almost a dozen stories below. He drifts lifelessly in the water for several seconds, but once Nicky hears that David Webb's body was never found, "Extreme Ways" starts up, Bourne comes to, and he swims away.
  • Too Dumb to Live: Simon Ross, the Guardian reporter who got in way over his head.
    • Of note, saying the word "Blackbriar" over an unsecured cellular phone when he could've just waited to meet his editor in person. Uttering the word "blackbriar" flagged an alert and the conversation was sent to Vosen, putting him in their crosshairs.
    • Being in full view of the office windows and staying visible as he goes to meet Bourne making it dead easy for the group to follow him.
    • Not listening to Bourne's instructions, his repeated warnings and then panicking. The final nail in his coffin is when he decides that it would be a good idea to try and escape a security trap on his own which gets him killed.
  • Trail of Bread Crumbs: When Nicky Parsons sees Desh coming to assassinate her, she immediately grabs her phone and disassembles it while making her escape into a crowded market street, throwing the separate pieces onto the ground as a trail for Jason, who is about a minute behind them, to follow.
  • Villain Has a Point: Vosen's claims of why a program like Treadstone or Blackbriar are necessary are soundly made, though the film doesn't pretend for a second that the methods used are defensible.
  • Well-Intentioned Extremist: Unlike his predecessors, Noah Vosen comes across as one of these.
    "It ends when we've won."
  • Wham Line:
    Bourne: "Where are you now?"
    Vosen: "I'm sitting in my office."
    Bourne: "I doubt that."
    Vosen: "And why would you doubt that?"
    Bourne: "If you were in your office right now, we'd be having this conversation face-to-face." (hangs up the phone)
  • The Worf Effect: Desh manages to outwit and nearly kill Bourne without a fight.

"I'm no longer Jason Bourne."