After briefly handing the reins over to Jeremy Renner, Matt Damon is back as the lead of Universal’s Bourne franchise with this weekend’s Jason Bourne. It’s the first time Damon has played the Robert Ludlum-created character since 2007’s The Bourne Ultimatum and also sees the return of director Paul Greengrass. The first reviews for the film were published overnight and the response has been mixed for the most part.
At the moment, the film has a 65 percent fresh rating on Rotten Tomatoes after 17 reviews. Critics have praised Greengrass’ direction and note that it is better than the Renner-starring The Bourne Legacy (2012), but some wonder what is the point of the film in the first place. Damon’s character is still trying to find out about his past and now he has to adjust to the modern world.
The Hollywood Reporter – The Ending Is a Letdown
Todd McCarthy of the Hollywood Reporter wrote that the film was “pretty good” until the climax, which includes a “narratively implausible and logistically ridiculous climactic motorcycle chase” in Las Vegas. McCarthy went on to criticize the film’s script, noting how the characters were one-dimensional. He wrote:
When, in earlier series entries, Bourne was emotionally bereft, obsessed about his father and determined to get to the bottom of things, there was always enough emotion to balance out the character’s machine-like efficiency and blank memory chips. Here, despite the welcome hints of vulnerability introduced by advancing age, Bourne seems rather more recessive and unavailable, an issue stemming from the script (which provides him with precious few lines) rather than from Damon, who is impressively opening up as an actor with the years.
Indiewire – ‘Jason Bourne’ is ‘useless’
Indiewire’s Eric Kohn gave the film a “C,” calling it a “useless sequel” that misses an opportunity to really say something about a post-Snowden world. He wrote:
There’s a touch of Greengrass’ wry, subversive political agenda to the way the movie unapologetically casts the FBI as merciless villains, but their motivations are as mechanical as the filmmaking.
The Guardian – Matt Damon Gives a Good Performance as Bourne Again
The Guardian’s Peter Bradshaw gave Jason Bourne three out of five stars and praised Damon’s performance.
He snaps off a table-leg to give someone what for, and even wrenches out the handle from a one-armed bandit in Vegas casino to disable the control panel in an elevator. Matt Damon has grown into the role: in some ways I’d rather see him as this bulked-up tough guy than the smirking and preposterous “botanist” he played in The Martian.
Games Radar – Bourne Needs to Move on From His Past
Games Radar’s Jordan Farley provided another three out of five-star review. He wrote that if the franchise wants to continue, it should finally let Bourne explore his future.
Annoyingly, it’s a film that also falls foul of blatant sequel baiting, teasing a list of Treadstone successor programmes and leaving characters hanging in a way that demands a follow up. Whether it warrants further entry is another question; any successor must stop delving into Bourne’s past and finally make good on his future.
Variety – ‘Jason Bourne’ Is the ‘Most Unsettling Movie’ in the Franchise
Variety’s Peter Debruge turned in a positive review, calling it the “most unsettling movie” in the franchise so far. He wrote:
In many ways, Jason Bourne is the most unsettling movie in the series, seeing as it points to a vast conspiracy directed at the American people, and Greengrass’ style — rendered visceral via the marriage of Barry Ackroyd’s on-the-fly lensing, a tense techno score, and Rouse’s cutting-room trickery — lends itself nicely to an era in which shadow forces rely on such tools as satellite surveillance and facial-recognition software.
TheWrap – Paul Greengress Directs Action Like no Other
TheWrap’s Robert Abele was really positive about the film. He wrote:
What Greengrass, [co-writer Christopher] Rouse and cinematographer Barry Ackroyd do is trancelike, frankly, and it gives “Jason Bourne” — like the other movies, thick with set pieces that zigzag from computer screens to talking heads to street-level danger in far-flung places — a beautifully brutalizing rhythm.