With a successful partnership that included the hits The Bourne Supremacy and The Bourne Ultimatum, it was only logical that director Paul Greengrass and star Matt Damon would team up again. And although the familiar intense action and visceral editing are also back, the overall results are not as rewarding this time around.
Green Zone opens up seven years ago -- during the U.S.-led invasion and early occupation of Baghdad. Damon plays Chief Warrant Officer Roy Miller -- who with his team of Army inspectors -- is dispatched to find weapons of mass destruction believed to be stockpiled in the Iraqi desert. Rocketing from one booby-trapped and treacherous site to the next, Miller searches in vain for deadly chemical agents but stumbles instead upon an elaborate government cover-up.
The plot also stumbles at times -- due to a tricky mixture of fact and fiction -- and a clichéd script by Brian Helgeland (The Taking of Pelham 1 2 3). And I question some of the casting. Damon (Invictus, The Informant!) does well with the material -- but the same cannot be said of co-stars Greg Kinnear (as a Special Intelligence official) and Amy Ryan (as a Wall Street Journal reporter). Although usually strong actors, they're not believable in their roles here. Brendan Gleeson (In Bruges) also seems a bit out of place as the CIA Baghdad bureau chief. Bottom line: there's some good action in the film -- and it raises some interesting questions on unearthing the truth -- but ultimately, it's only mildly thrilling. [Rated R; opens tomorrow]
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- If you're looking for a truly great film about the war in Iraq, rent The Hurt Locker -- which deservedly won Best Picture at Sunday's Academy Awards ceremony.