Written by Old Bluffer 19th Aug 2007
Desh Bouksani is one of Project Treadstone's (now known as Blackbriar) many "assets", which is a euphemism for an assassin. This film uses a lot of language like this, to try and convey an atmosphere of cutting edge US intelligence, but it quickly becomes ridiculous. For example, in one memorable scene where Bourne tricks all the CIA types into leaving their headquarters on a wild goose chase whilst he ransacks their safe, the leader of the botched mission screams the order "This is a level 10 abort!!!" - one has to assume that is pretty damn abortive, but I was left wondering how the other nine levels differed from it...
Now Desh is based in Tangiers, and has been activated to kill Neal Daniels, but it's not even worth explaining why because it honestly doesn't matter.
All we really need to know is that Jason Bourne apparently needs Daniels to discover the next clue in the increasingly tedious puzzle of his lost memory. His plan is to therefore follow Desh so he is led to Daniels.
Bourne has teamed up with Nicky Parsons (AKA token attractive female), who is also an operative, so has enough network access to text Desh a last minute order change, and ask him to meet her first before he carries out his hit, so that she can give him a new phone. It is worth noting here that there is an amusing problem with the plausibilty of this film. It is heavily branded with Motorola phones, and there is a hell of a lot of texting going on. However, anyone unfortunate enough to have used Motorola's abysmal text input method will know that the speedy, perfectly punctuated messages seen throughout the movie are seriously wishful thinking. In real life Desh would most likely have received a message reading "c change me slams" or something.
Anyway, Desh picks up the new phone and then speeds off on his scooter, and Jason Bourne utilises his innate espionage abilities to follow him discreetly by tailgating him so close that Desh can clearly see his face. This is handy for Desh, as again the lucrative Motorola deal means he gets sent a picture message showing that his next two targets are Bourne and Parsons. Again, anyone that has owned one of those piece-of-crap "Razr" phones will know what he would actually have received would have been "Size of message exceeds memory".
Suffice to say, Desh has his primary mission to carry out, and knows he is being followed by his secondary target. He therefore plays a cunning trick on Bourne and drops a bag some way in front of Daniels' car, causing Bourne to jump in front of the car in a desperate bid to stop the bag from blowing him up... ...except the bomb isn't in the bag and all he succeeds in doing is to stop Daniels right next to the real bomb - which explodes with enough force to incinerate Daniels, rip the car to shreds and give Bourne a minor limp that lasts approximately six seconds.
This highlights one of the major problems with this third installation in the Bourne trilogy - the hero is quite literally invincible. Imagine a cross between The Terminator and The Crow and you might just get the idea.
So, Jason has been blown up, but is soon stealing a motorcycle and tearing off after Desh, as he senses that Nicky is going to be next on his hitlist. Along the way he takes time out to perform various motorcycle stunts, but then tires of that and takes to the rooftops to show that his character is also adept at parkour / free running (why does every new film feel the need to do this?!).
Meanwhile Nicky is being stalked by Desh, and this goes on for ages. I swear at times it feels like the projectionist has made a mistake and has inserted an entire reel of totally uncut footage from the day's shoot.
After long, torturous minutes of Nicky trying unsuccessfully to lose herself in a crowd of thousands, with Desh following close behind and Bourne leaping about like Spiderman overhead, she finally turns into a deserted back alley and enters a building.
Cue lots more stalking action - Desh by this point has probably racked up more screen time than any of the main evil characters.
Bourne is still prancing about, but suddenly spots the glass window that he must crash through, face-first, in order to intercept Desh from shooting Nicky - which he proceeds to do, glass flying everywhere, apart from into his unscathed face.
Now we get the inevitable brawl between the two elite assassins, and to be fair, it is not bad. Bourne uses his jujitsu moves, but Desh has a lot of success just smashing his face through yet more panes of glass - Bourne's face of course remains beautifully unmarked.
Finally the two fight each other to a virtual standstill in the bathroom, each trying to choke the other. Bourne has an advantage in the form of a towel though, and eventually he chokes Desh out with it, and we later learn that he held it on long enough to kill him. This is completely at odds with Bourne's character by the way, as he generally makes a point of sparing the lives of the US assassins when it is possible to do so.
Total damage to Bourne during this extremely violent encounter: a tiny nosebleed and some temporarily bruised knuckles.
Now, astute viewers will have realised that this massively drawn out action scene was all very well, but didn't Bourne need Daniels in order to get his next clue? Well don't worry, that is explained in a 60 second scene where Bourne bribes the Moroccan morgue attendant and goes through Daniels' remains. There is absolutely nothing left except a charred mass - and a scrap of paper with an American address on it leading to the next scene. So that was lucky then...
Editor Note: The reason I've rated this death "Pointless" is mainly due to it's amazingly protracted length. It seriously felt like filler to try and disguise the fact that the Bourne saga really doesn't have enough meat on it to merit an entire trilogy. Also, it could have been cut out completely without spoiling the narrative, as finding that address was as contrived a clue as you'll ever see in cinema.
There aren't really any other deaths of any significance, so I'll end this review with my thoughts on the film:
(finale spoilers follow)
As a series of set pieces it does manage to be quite exciting at times - it's often quite stylish how Bourne manages to outwit the Intelligence forces arrayed against him with extremely low tech devices and ideas. However, the plot has really run its course by this final part, and can be summarised as follows:
Bourne: "I've spent three films living a tortured existence to find out what bastard stole my memory."
Dr. Albert Hirsch (Bourne's original recruitment officer and trainer): "Well it was entirely your own fault. Not only did you volunteer to be brainwashed, you were given a comprehensive briefing on what would happen and you were still quite happy to proceed."
Bourne: "Oh yes, it's all coming back to me now - doh!"
Aside from the overly stretched premise, the aforementioned invulnerability of Jason Bourne v3.0 removed any remaining tension. The best example of this is in the final explosive car chase. Here, Bourne is involved in a pile up of truly epic proportions. It really is the kind of crash where in real life they would have a CSI team scraping fragments of DNA from a kilometre stretch of road. However, just before the impact, Bourne leans over into the passenger seat and wraps the seatbelt around him. Total damage sustained after this safety precaution: some superficial grazes on his face.
So, as a person who thoroughly enjoyed The Bourne Identity, I for one cannot understand the enthusiastic reviews the final chapter is getting.