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Category:    Home > Reviews > Spy > Action > Thriller > The Bourne Ultimatum (HD-DVD/DVD Combo Format)

The Bourne Ultimatum (Universal HD-DVD/DVD Combo Format)


Picture: B+/B-     Sound: A-/B-     Extras: C+     Film: C+



NOTE:  This version has been discontinued, but reissued on Blu-ray, which you can read more about at this link:






Following the revival of James Bond, the Jason Bourne films have been very successful in shedding their Cold War origins just enough to become a series of hit feature films.  However, in both cases, it has been a mix of good and bad films.  The first two Pierce Brosnan films worked better than the silly second two before he was gone.  While the Bonds were only coming out three years at a time and actors were being switched, Matt Damon became the new Jason Bourne (following a TV stint by Richard Chamberlain) and the result has been a surprise trilogy of hit films.


Now the third and possibly final film, The Bourne Ultimatum (2007) has arrived, was a big hit and is now on HD-DVD and DVD.  The HD version even has a DVD flipside and Paul Greengrass is fortunately back to continue directing over the uneven Doug Liman.  In my opinion, the first film was overrated by took advantage of a genre gap, the second was a big comeback film and this third film is sadly repeating too much of the second film down to the Moby hit (Moby had already done a nice reinterpretation of The Bond Theme back in 1997) recycled again.  Recycled is ultimately the key word Ultimatum can be summed up with.


Sure, the money is here, but that is not matched by the script.  The origins of the character in the book were that Bourne was made to fight a Soviet threat of their own real-life, well-known attempts to create supermen.  Dealt with just fine in the first film, they should have just left well enough alone and tied his true identity to something else instead of yet another origins bit (played out in current Superhero films already) that becomes more contrived (even contradicting the first film if you think about it) wrapping up what the makers see as the story despite any other books in the series or new ideas.  Now that it is a hit, we’ll see if they really stop.


I think they can go for at least one more film.  Julia Styles, David Strathairn, Scott Glenn, Paddy Constantine, Joan Allen and Albert Finney also star.


The 1080p VC-1 2.35 X 1 digital High Definition image is well shot by Director of Photography Oliver Wood, who does not overdo any distortion or styling (say versus the film version of S.W.A.T.) and is very good looking as have the previous HD versions of the film.  The anamorphically enhanced DVD version on the flipside looks good for that format too.  Note in both cases, there is more color than you might first notice.


Unlike the mere Dolby Digital Plus on the first two HD versions of this trilogy, Universal has finally made this film available with Dolby TrueHD 5.1 and it is easily the best sounding of the three and in general the best sounding in the series.  John Powell’s score is not bad and both soundfield and directionality is very accurate, making it more than competitive with similar Spy or even Superhero genre releases.


Extras include deleted scenes, featurettes Man on the Move: Jason Bourne, Rooftop Pursuit, Planning The Punches, Driving School, New York Chase, a feature-length audio commentary track by Greengrass, then HD-exclusive U-Control offers additional interactive access with clips, a look at the Volkswagen in the film, Blackbriar Files and Be Bourne Spy Training abilities test, viewers complete tasks to test their spy skills.



-   Nicholas Sheffo


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