Amnesiac superspy Jason Bourne finally learns who he is and how he learned how to karate-chop all those bad guys with lightning speed in “The Bourne Ultimatum,” the third and presumably final entry in the franchise (if one is to believe statements by star Matt Damon, and not the enormous box-office returns).
Prompted by a series of articles written by a British reporter, Bourne leaps out of hiding to try to get to the bottom of his shadowy origins. Over at the CIA, a director named Vosen (David Strathairn, “Good Night, and Good Luck”) doesn’t want that.
Vosen wrongly believes Bourne is the source for the articles, and orders him to be assassinated, but our hero finds an unlikely ally in Pamela Landy (Joan Allen, “The Upside of Anger”), who was hell-bent on capturing him in the previous film.
From Doug Liman’s original “The Bourne Identity” and Paul Greengrass’ follow-up, “The Bourne Supremacy,” to this installment, the series has proven that intelligent, story-driven espionage films still have a place in today’s blockbuster world. Sometimes there’s even too much story, with ever-mounting details a little hard to follow, but like its brothers, “Ultimatum” delivers some slam-bang set pieces as well, including a car chase in New York and a foot pursuit in London that leaves viewers breathless.
It’s hard to imagine we once thought Damon couldn’t make this part believable, but instead, he’s indelibly linked himself to it. It’d be more hard to imagine him yielding the role to another.