'Jason Bourne' Early Buzz: An Unnecessary, Dumbed Down, Yet Thrilling Rehash

Director Paul Greengrass and star Matt Damon return to the Bourne franchise with Jason Bourne, but is it as good as the previous trilogy of films based on Robert Ludlum's novels? Hit the jump to read some selected spoiler-free excerpts from the first reviews and find out if Jason Bourne is worth seeing this week in theaters.

Excerpts From Jason Bourne Reviews

Peter Sciretta for /Film:

Jason Bourne is the dumber mass audience version of what we've seen before from the Bourne franchise, and if you can get past the fact its not as smart and clever, it is still thrilling. As it turns out, a by-the-numbers Matt Damon/Paul Greengrass action thriller rehash is still better than most of the options in the multiplex this summer, and the story offers a compelling set-up for future Bourne films.

Angie Han for /Film:

I'll admit my memory of Bourne's history isn't that great (I'm a little like Jason Bourne himself that way), but the first thing I said when I walked out of Jason Bourne was, "Have the Bourne movies always been this boring? Jason Bourne is slick, competent, and, for the most part, numbingly dull. Much of the screentime is given over to shots of people either walking very quickly or typing very quickly. When there is action, it feels like nothing that hasn't been done before, and better, in the Mission: Impossible or Fast and Furious movies. (The only exception is a mano-a-mano fistfight near the very end, which is impressively brutal.) None of the characters are given much in the way of personality or motivations, exposition is repeated endlessly in case those watching are total idiots, and the dialogue never misses an opportunity to make text what could've been left as subtext. Jason Bourne was supposed to be a return to glory for the franchise after the much-derided The Bourne Legacy. Instead, it raises the question: Matt Damon and Paul Greengrass came back for this?

Eric Kohn for IndieWire:

A Useless Sequel Makes the Case For Its Own Irrelevance.

Matt Damon and director Paul Greengrass are back in action, but that's not enough to warrant this soft reboot of a story that ended years ago. ... While Greengrass' decision to co-write the movie with editor Christopher Rouse (who won an Oscar for "Ultimatum") is intriguing in theory, "Jason Bourne" adheres to an existing format so robotically that it never manages to surprise or engage for longer than the occasional passing moment.

Rodrigo Perez for The Playlist:

... might be a muscular and visceral chapter in the 'Bourne' saga, but it's also a familiar collision. Perhaps less acrobatic overall and more of a bruising affair, both physically and, to a lesser extent, emotionally, while more brawny in its action, very little else has changed. ... And yet, for all its problems, 'Bourne' is still thrilling and an undoubtedly engrossing action film thanks to its taut construction. Greengrass can seemingly make these movies in his sleep and audiences just looking for a kinetic Jason Bourne movie won't be disappointed. The movie features spectacular car chases, punishing fight sequences, and motorcycle sequences that will push your blood pressure skyward. The problem is, as heart stopping as they are, none of them are very unexpected.

Todd McCarthy for The Hollywood Reporter:

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 reimmersion 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.

Mike Ryan for Uprox:

Jason Bourne kinda, sorta feels like a perfectly serviceable action thriller. I have no real complaints. It definitely passes my $10 rule (on a blistering hot Saturday afternoon, I wouldn't want to ask for my $10 back after seeing Jason Bourne). But there's just something slightly ... off. ... It's hard to get past the fact there's no real reason for this movie to exist. In The Bourne Ultimatum, Bourne figures out the mystery of who he really is and what he's been through, then jumps into the East River to, as far as we know, disappear forever. It was a nice wrap-up.

Peter Debruge for Variety:

Just as the initial Damon-driven trilogy wrapped up Bourne's business but left us wanting more, this sequel offers closure even as it entices us with the possibility of his return.

Scott Mendelson for Forbes:

You've seen this movie before. You saw it in 2004 when it was called The Bourne Supremacy, and you saw it in 2007 when it was called The Bourne Ultimatum. As is now apparently custom for Paul Greengrass-directed Bourne sequels, the filmmaker steals wholesale from his previous movies to the point where it feels not like a formula but a glorified remake. This fifth Bourne film (and fourth Matt Damon entry) plays like a greatest hits album of a popular franchise, with an emphasis on the two sequels that Greengrass himself directed. On one hand, you will roll your eyes at the ways in which this picture goes through the motions. On the other hand, if you wanted a new Matt Damon Bourne movie, you'll get exactly what you want/deserve.

Josh Dickey for Mashable:

Jason Bourne is a brutal, soulless slog that feels like punishment. ... 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. That's what it feels like walking out — like someone just batted you about the the ears and neck for two hours while constantly reminding you how scary things are in the world. Ugh.

Christopher Hooton for the Independent:

It's a kinetic film, but unfortunately all that motion ends up feeling like going through the motions, and by the Las Vegas chase denouement I'd somewhat lost interest.

Richard Trenholm for CNet:

So it's familiar — but it's also really, really well done. In the hands of director Paul Greengrass, "Jason Bourne" feels not like a rehash of past glories but like a Greatest Hits arena tour. The hairline may be receding, but the hits are as solid as ever when dialled up to 11. It's the best of Bourne, only bigger.

Tim Robey for The Telegraph:

Hunting Bourne is more than ever a business now, with a bottom line to worry about, a crowd to please, and presumably hasty deadlines to meet. It's not that there's no pause for thought in this still-good-fun episode. There's just not enough thought in the pauses.