Critics Split on the Return of Bourne

One says it's 'the best the series has yet offered'
By Arden Dier,  Newser Staff
Posted Jul 29, 2016 9:20 AM CDT

(Newser) – Jason Bourne returns from what was believed to be a watery grave to surprise the CIA in the fifth Bourne installment and fourth starring Matt Damon. In this flick, Bourne is bent on discovering the story behind his initial recruitment. Critics are mostly split. Here's what they're saying:

  • "Jason Bourne is more than a just worthy addition to a popular franchise—it's the cherry on the top" and "the best the series has yet offered," writes James Berardinelli at ReelViews. It has the same format as its predecessors but "a relentless intensity" that's unmatched. In fact, "when it comes to keeping audiences uncertain and white-knuckled, the movie rarely lets up. Prepare to be exhausted" when the credits roll.
  • "Jason Bourne largely sticks to the franchise's familiar moves, and they often don't have the same kinetic finesse they used to," writes Jake Coyle at the AP. Yet it still "has a weight that outclasses nearly every other big action movie around." It's too bad Damon speaks only a handful of times, but the "steely but agile presence" of Alicia Vikander as the CIA's cyber ops head "brightens the film's dour gaze."

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  • Mick LaSalle, however, says the flick was "a chore to sit through." The shaky camerawork is "silly," "the character motivations are weak, and the story is poorly structured," he writes at the San Francisco Chronicle. Plus there's little suspense and no relationships to care about. "It's the opposite of exciting. It's the visual equivalent of white noise, and if you're not careful, you might fall asleep."
  • It's "handsomely filmed" and "well-acted," writes Moira Macdonald at the Seattle Times. But the film misses an opportunity to return Bourne to the life he once lived. "It's a jittery flash-connect of motorcycle chases, car crashes … and screenshots of files downloading while ominous music plays," she says. It "gets lost in its focus on flash and speed, and forgets about the man—and the fine, quiet actor—at its center."
(Read more movie review stories.)

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