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Bill Brown

A complicated man.

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Bourne Ultimatum was a big disappointment. One reviewer that I generally enjoy lauded it, so I had some good expectations that it definitely didn't meet.

Now, let me preface the following by saying that I don't expect much from mindless action movies. I myself am a big fan of nearly-everything Jackie Chan has done—and it's often hard to speak of a plot existing in those movies. I enjoyed The Bourne Identity and didn't care for the second one. I wasn't looking for anything great, but I wasn't prepared for how awful it was.

The best word to describe this movie was ridiculous. The plot had gaping holes that required the audience to leave their minds with their ticket stubs. For example, I thought that Bourne was pardoned in one of the previous movies. Why are they still after him in this go-round? And I'm willing to accept that the government sometimes operates in secret shadows that mere mortals such as myself couldn't comprehend, but since when has the CIA effectively done so? And don't even get me started about the sophistication of the surveillance equipment they were using.

That was all peripheral complaints though. For me, the worst part of the movie was the cinematography. Whenever any conversation was taking place (and sadly there were quite a few moments of lingering, monosyllabic dialog), the camera got a bad case of the jitters. It was as if the cameraman had Parkinson's or had just invented a new camera rig called the (Un)Steadicam. I know that steady framing if passé nowadays but that jerkiness is usually reserved for action shots.

And those action shots took the spasms to unprecedented levels. I'm used to action scenes being difficult to follow—it's an effective way to cover up the stunt work—but this is the first time in my memory where I gave up trying to focus on what was happening. It was as if the director took his visual cues from Looney Tunes fighting. All that was missing was the inexplicable smoke and punctuation marks flying around.

Sadly, the "ultimatum" in the title wasn't present. The ending left a clear opening for the next sure-to-be-overhyped installment. This is one of the few times when I would have preferred the main character to have died after being shot as he was jumping from a 10-story building into the East River. Note to Universal Pictures: if you must do another sequel, please please please name it Bourne Again. It's such a bad pun, yes, but it absolutely cracks me up.