First Reviews For JASON BOURNE Say It's "A Bruising And Exhilarating Ride"
Jason Bourne is back, but was his long-awaited return worth the wait? Well, it's better than Legacy and the action is top-notch, but it seems it doesn't quite reach the heights of the original three.
"Oh my God... that's Jason Bourne!"
The dynamic duo of Matt Damon and director Paul Greengrass are back in the latest installment in Universal Pictures' blockbuster Bourne franchise - Jason Bourne. The first batch of reviews landed earlier this morning and it looks like David Webb's return may not be quite as spectacular as his exit was in 2007's The Bourne Ultimatum, but despite that, it still sounds like the combination of Damon & Greengrass - two of the best in the world at what they do - makes this fifth entry in the long-running spy series a more than worthwhile watch.
The script seems to have a few issues here and there, and at times sounds like it's equal parts complicated and/or not complicated enough with a strong start and a somewhat weaker finish. Many critics admit that while the film doesn't exactly break new ground and feels very familiar at times, "it does the old stuff really, really well" and almost all are in agreement that it's a lot better than the franchise's last outing, The Bourne Legacy, just not quite as good as the groundbreaking original trilogy.
As for Damon, who returns after a decade in the dark, he receives unanimous praise across the board for being in top-form once again as his most iconic character ever. Franchise newcomer Alicia Vikander (Tomb Raider) also seems to leave a mark and the action scenes, which include an absolutely bonkers 15-minute chase sequence on the Las Vegas strip, sound like they're worth the price of admission alone.
Before you get to the reviews, in case you needed a quick refresher, here's a 90-second recap of the original trilogy:
Check out the reviews below:
Damon and Greengrass return to give the espionage genre another energising smack round the chops. A bold and eerily topical masterpiece of stuntcraft and bruising action. Rating: 4 out of 5 stars.
Leagues ahead of Legacy but the weakest of the Matt Damon movies, Bourne still has the power to thrill. But it seems his story has run out of steam.
GOOD. Bourne is back, but that isn't necessarily a good thing, the new film failing to hit the dizzying height of films 1-3. Rating: 7.0
Mostly, the project marks a return to what worked about the franchise — namely, Damon — suggesting the relief of watching Sean Connery step back into Bond’s shoes after producers tried to replace him with a suave male model in “On Her Majesty’s Secret Service.” Meanwhile, audiences are expected to forget both “The Bourne Legacy,” 2012’s disappointing attempt to carry on the name by casting Jeremy Renner in a superficially similar capacity, and “Green Zone,” the gritty (and virtually unseen) Iraq War thriller in which Damon and Greengrass tried to get serious. Now, the real Bourne has resurfaced, and both director and star are committed to making the most of it, holding us in their thrall until the Las Vegas-set finale, when this hyper-paranoid conspiracy thriller tilts into something bordering on silliness.
Up until a narratively implausible and logistically ridiculous climactic motorcycle chase through Vegas that feels like a sop to the Fast & Furious crowd, Jason Bourne is an engrossing re-immersion in the violent and mysterious world of Matt Damon's shadowy secret op. With director Paul Greengrass compulsively cutting the almost incessant action to the absolute bone in his trademark fashion and some solid new characters stirred in, Universal's franchise refresher should have no problem being re-embraced by longtime series fans nine years on (not counting the lukewarm non-Damon stopgap The Bourne Legacy in 2012).
As a standalone scene it's brilliantly staged and one hell of a spectacle, yet it's also unmistakably more Hollywood than anything that's come before.
Cat-and-mouse extravaganzas are rarely as enjoyable as “Jason Bourne,” and when they are, it’s most likely because they’re the previous installments in this still vital rogue-agent franchise — that is, the ones directed by Paul Greengrass (“The Bourne Supremacy,” “The Bourne Ultimatum”). Perhaps today’s master practitioner of jagged action, Greengrass can turn fistfights and chases into collision art. And after last year’s slick-and-tired 007 retread “Spectre,” being reminded of the Bourne saga’s grittier thrills is welcome, indeed.
Director Paul Greengrass (Captain Phillips, United 93) has always had a taste for the topical and political, and his third Bourne outing augments the usual truth-and-justice talking points with a strenuously current nod to digital privacy issues via a Zuckerberg-like social-media mogul (Riz Ahmed). If anything, he underplays those assets, shorting deeper story development for exotic zip codes, bang-up fisticuffs, and adrenalized chase scenes (one of which delivers a level of casual collateral damage that feels, after the events in Nice, ill-timed at best). Jason Bourne has already given us a hero who transcends two dimensions. We just need to know more about what he’s fighting for. Rating: B+
But when the talking stops the film takes off, with a pair of bone-rattling chases set in Athens and Las Vegas that cause maximum damage to people, property and the audience’s eardrums. A bracing reminder of how fiercely efficient Greengrass can be, these scenes just about justify the existence of ‘Jason Bourne’. But, please, no more.
If Jason Bourne was just the next in a very long line of Jason Bourne knockoffs, then we could write it off as an insipid misfire and call it a day. Instead, we are forced to wonder why Paul Greengrass and Matt Damon - who walked away from this franchise like a pair of [frick]ing champions nine years ago - thought that this particular film was a good enough reason to come back. It has nothing to say about the events that transpire within it, and none of the characters actually seem to change over the course of the film (unless dying counts). So why the hell are we even being asked to watch it?
Paul Greengrass and his star have upped the tech and chucked in references to Snowden, but it’s basic Bourne that remains most persuasive: whacking baddies with a door handle and tensely unleashing testostrone on well-dressed women. Rating: 3 stars out of 5
But turn left on the way out of the multiplex and look at the posters for everything else, and it’s immediately clear why Jason Bourne’s return is so welcome. At best, the new Bourne is thrilling, ambitious, and breathless, its action edited to the millisecond of precision. In a summer where blockbusters have regularly spluttered, the return of Jason Bourne – warts and all – really does feel particularly welcome. Rating: 4 stars out of 5
Some people may enjoy sitting through Jason Bourne, though it will by hard to fathom why. The return of Matt Damon and writer/director Paul Greengrass is a soulless, sensually deadening time-suck, like watching a stranger play a video game you used to think was fun while someone vigorously shakes the screen, or perhaps your head.
The Bourne franchise has been copied again and again, from its visual style to its fight sequences. While a reunion between Greengrass and Damon should feel like a refreshing extension of the franchise, Jason Bourne is just another replica, and an unnecessary one. The familiar pieces are in place, but it adds nothing that Greengrass hadn’t already accomplished. Maybe its best we let Jason Bourne retire for good. Rating: 5 star out of 10
Thematically, “Jason Bourne” doesn’t fare much better. While Greengrass borrowed enough plot from Robert Ludlum’s original novels to turn the latter two official “Bourne” movies into wry comments on homeland security, “Jason Bourne” is a blunt retread. The earlier entries anticipated the Snowden era with their depiction of complex and ethically dubious surveillance systems; this one name-checks him. Meanwhile, a billionaire social network founder (Riz Ahmed) struggles with the CIA’s efforts to make him comply with their requests. 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. Rating: C
You will be entertained, you will be kept at the edge of your seat. Your heart will even pound for some of the most exciting scenes. And if at the end of a particular sequence you may think, “OK, that was a bit over the top,” Greengrass will come back with a vengeance and show you that, much like the franchise itself, he was not quite finished. Rating: B
As compelling as its forward thrust is, ultimately “Jason Bourne” is akin to a bad nutritionist who gives audiences more of what they want than what they need. But in a summer where the conventional has become the norm and the only option of choice that audiences seem to be at least half-heartedly embracing, both Universal and fans could come out the other end satisfied. It’s just a disappointment that “Jason Bourne” couldn’t do more. As the movie comes to its denouement, the filmmaker toys, once again, with the ideas of privacy and surveillance. There’s always someone watching, someone listening. Yet, what “Jason Bourne” can’t fully grasp is that eyes and ears need to come with hearts and minds. [C+/B-]
Jason Bourne is a completely unnecessary sequel that barely moves along the plot from the third movie. And after what a Big Deal it was in The Bourne Legacy that no one could find Jason Bourne, it does feel a bit weird that the return of Jason Bourne seems so anticlimactic. But (there’s a “but”), even after saying all that, Greengrass and Damon, even just kind of going through the motions for what I’m sure is a hefty payday, still do this kind of thing better than almost anyone out there working today. And unnecessary as Jason Bourne is (and any sequels would be, I imagine), I hope they keep making them.
Plus, here's a funny segment from last night's Jimmy Kimmel Live!:
So, what do you guys think? Will you be seeing Jason Bourne this weekend? Sound off with your thoughts below!
Global superstar Matt Damon returns to his most iconic role as Jason Bourne in the fifth installment of Universal Pictures’ Bourne franchise. Acclaimed director Paul Greengrass (The Bourne Supremacy, The Bourne Ultimatum, Captain Phillips) also returns for this much-anticipated chapter, and Frank Marshall again produces alongside Jeffrey Weiner and Ben Smith for Captivate Entertainment. Greengrass, Damon and Gregory Goodman also produce. The action-thriller is written by Greengrass, Damon and Christopher Rouse. Julia Stiles, Alicia Vikander, Vincent Cassel and Tommy Lee Jones join Damon for the action-thriller.
Jason Bourne features:
Director: Paul Greengrass
Matt Damon as Jason Bourne
Julia Stiles as Nicky Parsons
Tommy Lee Jones as Robert Dewey
Alicia Vikander as Heather Lee
Vincent Cassel as Asset
Riz Ahmed as Aaron Kalloor
Ato Essandoh as Craig Jeffers
Scott Shepherd as Edwin Russell
Bill Camp as Malcolm Smith
Stephen Kunken as Baumen
Jason Bourne returns July 29
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