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The Bourne Ultimatum Review Critics


Dave White Profile

… hard-edged and laser-focused and intense. Read full review

Other Critics provided by

Critics scores range from 0 to 100, with higher scores indicating more favorable reviews.

  • 5.0

    out of 100

    Universal acclaim
    based on a weighted average of all
    critic review scores.

  • 100

    out of 100

    USA Today Claudia Puig

    The best action thriller of the year.

    Read Full Review

  • 88

    out of 100

    Chicago Sun-Times Roger Ebert

    You sit there, and the action assaults you, and using words to re-create it would be futile. What actually happens to Jason Bourne is essentially immaterial. What matters is that SOMETHING must happen, so he can run away from it or toward it.

    Read Full Review

  • 88

    out of 100

    Chicago Tribune Michael Phillips

    This is the most satisfying thriller of the year, capping the Bourne trilogy.

    Read Full Review

  • 90

    out of 100

    The Hollywood Reporter Kirk Honeycutt

    Audiences will eat it up: This is a postmillennial spy-action movie pitched to a large international audience. You hardly need subtitles.

    Read Full Review

  • 91

    out of 100

    Entertainment Weekly Owen Gleiberman

    A spectacular windup toy of a thriller -- a contraption made by an artist.

    Read Full Review

  • See all The Bourne Ultimatum reviews at

For Families provided by Common Sense Media

Iffy for 14+

Excellent, smart spy thriller for mature teens and up.

What Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that The Bourne Ultimatum features wall-to-wall action, much of it violent, causing repeated, bloody injuries to Bourne. The film includes car chases and crashes, explosions, fights, falls from great heights, smashes through windows, and murders (hand-to-hand, by gunfire), as well as images of dead bodies. The plot involves high tech surveillance and a dastardly, secret CIA program, and the hero comes to distrust his (U.S.) government (that said, Senate hearings at film's end lead to arrests of "rogue agents"). Language includes "s--t," "damn," and "hell."

  • Families can talk about Bourne's sense of betrayal: How does he come to see himself as a tool, created and used by the CIA, and how does his moral sense lead him to challenge his "employers"?
  • Why might it be significant that Bourne is helped by the two women agents, who both question their boss' efforts to cover up the secret program?
  • How does Bourne's amnesia make him different from most other, very self-secure action heroes?

The good stuff
  • message true0

    Messages: Mixed messages. Government is portrayed as corrupt and manipulative, and the main character battles against it in order to live a free life. On the other hand, the fight scenes are what makes the Bourne movies so watchable, so while the ideals of righteousness and purity are celebrated, so is violence.

  • rolemodels true0

    Role models: Bourne is singularly moral-minded, though he hasn't always been that way; CIA agents and other killers are deadly, calculating, and cold.

What to watch for
  • violence false4

    Violence: Bourne first appears limping and being chased aboard a moving train; he jumps off, finds a hospital, trails blood everywhere, washes his bloody hands, self-injects a needle full of painkiller, hits one officer and holds his gun on another. Flashbacks throughout show young Bourne's torture (hooded figures, waterboarding, frantic camerawork and dissolves), refer to his girlfriend's murder ("shot in the head"). Scene in morgue shows corpse. Violent acts -- shown in chaotic camerawork and editing -- include explosions (preceded by bomb-making), punching, kicking, flipping, leaping, falling, crashing through a window, car-crashing and -screeching, shooting (by snipers and face-to-face), bone-breaking, stabbing.

  • sex false1

    Sex: In subjective flashbacks, Bourne tenderly kisses Maria (his dead girlfriend), once underwater, as she floats away.

  • language false3

    Language: Several uses of "s--t" and "damn," repeated uses of "hell" in frustration (e.g., "What the hell's going on here?").

  • consumerism false1

    Consumerism: Vespa motorbike.

  • drugsalcoholtobacco false0

    Drinking, drugs and smoking: In flashbacks, Bourne and another man appear to be sedated.