For a movie that received a ton of pre-release attention for a possible "anti-American" political slant, 'Green Zone' is being called just a pulpy, serviceable action thriller that will be here today, gone tomorrow.

Because the film was shot two years ago, 'Green Zone' seems outdated thematically. The consensus of reviewers is that the Matt Damon-starring movie is lacking in new ideas and sublime sophistication, without the crackle of director Paul Greengrass's 'Bourne' movies, from which he has assembled much of his creative team. You know what that means: shaky cameras, not as much payoff.

Read what the reviewers have to say. For a movie that received a ton of pre-release attention for a possible "anti-American" political slant, 'Green Zone' is being called just a pulpy, serviceable action thriller that will be here today, gone tomorrow.

Because the film was shot two years ago, 'Green Zone' seems outdated thematically. The consensus of reviewers is that the Matt Damon-starring movie is lacking in new ideas and sublime sophistication, without the crackle of director Paul Greengrass's 'Bourne' movies, from which he has assembled much of his creative team. You know what that means: shaky cameras, not as much payoff.

Here's what the reviewers have to say.

Entertainment Weekly: "Greengrass has a compulsively watchable style and a sharp understanding of Damon's unlikely strengths as an action hero; the director plays off the actor's understated efficiency and physical stolidity in scenes of mad danger. The standoffs, showdowns, and cat-and-mouse chases are bracing, sometimes even Bourne cool. What 'Green Zone' lacks, however, is gravitas, perspective, and (since it was shot two years ago) timeliness: Why wasn't this out before the 2008 elections? Until now, I've been immune to ''Iraq fatigue,' the diagnosis invented for why audiences stay away from good movies about U.S. military involvement in the Middle East. (Even the apolitical Oscar winner 'The Hurt Locker' earned peanuts at the box office.) With 'Green Zone,' though, the malaise has finally hit me. So while Damon's Miller uncovers the (inconvenient) truth of why the U.S. invaded Iraq in 2003, all I want to know is: How does he suggest we get out?"

Variety: "Press notes quote Greengrass to the effect that 'Green Zone' was not designed to promote any political agenda -- a disingenuous remark, to say the least, when his film concludes with a shot of a giant oil refinery. Basically, the picture is the first narrative feature to have digested and synthesized the essential information expressed in Charles Ferguson's superlative 2007 docu 'No End in Sight,' about the misconceptions, miscalculations and misrepresentations involved in Bush's Iraq policies."

'Green Zone' Trailer

'Green Zone' showtimes and tickets

Associated Press: "All the war-zone authenticity in the Arab world cannot salvage the silly Hollywood plot at the heart of 'Green Zone,' Matt Damon and Paul Greengrass' first collaboration outside the Jason Bourne realm. Their thriller about the futile search for weapons of mass destruction in Iraq is a visual and visceral knockout that's utterly deflated by a story as common, coarse and unappetizing as Army field rations. The movie pales further by arriving in theaters just days after the Academy Awards triumph of the vastly superior Iraq war story 'The Hurt Locker,' a film many people have yet to see. For the price of a couple of tickets to 'Green Zone,' you can own the DVD of a truly great war film in 'The Hurt Locker.'"

The Hollywood Reporter: "Greengrass and his 'Bourne' team -- cinematographer Barry Ackroyd worked with him on 'United 93' -- do a magnificent job of turning locations in Spain, Morocco and the U.K. into a realistic Iraq, a region tumbled into chaos and devastating destruction to its infrastructure. That chaos tips over into the action of the movie as the film hurtles from one destination to another in a race against time. John Powell's propulsive music eggs the action ever forward, and Christopher Rouse's rapid-fire editing nervously stitches the stunts, chases, fights and confrontations together. It's a remarkable film."

New Yorker: "The fact that 'Green Zone' begins with a bombing raid should come as no surprise, given that the director is Paul Greengrass. He made two of the 'Bourne' films and 'United 93,' and his attitude to the average viewer remains that of a salad spinner toward a lettuce leaf. You don't so much watch a Greengrass film as cling on tight and pray."

Village Voice: "'Green Zone' is at least a credible piece of movie-making -- easily grasped as an amalgam of Greengrass's artfully vérité docudramas, 'Bloody Sunday' and 'United 93,' and his Matt Damon-ized conspiratorial thrillers, 'The Bourne Supremacy' and 'The Bourne Ultimatum.' A master of smash-mash montage and choreographed chaos, Greengrass is the best action director working today, adroit at producing the sense of everyone converging and everything happening simultaneously. From the opening frenzy of hopped-up shock-and-awe panic among the Iraqi leadership to the frantic final chopper chase through the back alleys of downtown Baghdad, the movie is nonstop havoc. You catch your breath only to have the wind knocked out by the mirage of the carefree scene around the Green Zone swimming pool."

Box Office Magazine: "'Green Zone' is an exercise in commercial cowardice masquerading as a thriller about political bravery. A film at odds not just with recent history but also with itself, it's been filmed like an action movie but scripted at times like a sequel to 'Syriana.' It's hard to imagine the testosterone set wanting to swallow so much half-baked commentary on American incompetence with their gunfire, chase scenes and explosions. Unless the studio's overt campaign to make people think this is an unofficial entrée in the 'Bourne' franchise proves effective, 'Green Zone' will open well based on star power and then do a fast fade."
CATEGORIES Reviews