"Watching 'The Bourne Identity' is a pleasant enough way of mislaying a couple of hours... Still, there's a fatal lack of purpose in this kind of big-budget thriller entertainment... In all, 'The Bourne Identity' is the kind of thing that was done in the sixties with a great deal more humor. And more sex. The problem is not Franka Potente, the young German actress from 'Run Lola Run,' who is terrific...the problem is Matt Damon...he doesn't bring anything besides rage and physical energy to this role...he doesn't look at Potente with desire, so the situation of lovers on the run never picks up the steamy romantic excitement that it should..." --David Denby, The New Yorker

"...a tiptop espionage thriller...Liman is so jazzed at the opportunity to bring his outsider sensibility to mainstream material that he's been able to treat the story like it's spanking new...In Liman's hands, this potentially overly familiar scenario takes on unexpected sparkle...Laced with great shock moments, 'Bourne' moves along smartly on its own steam, drawing us confidently into its orbit...especially successful is the pairing of Damon as an earnest would-be teddy bear who can't understand why he's a killing machine and Potente as the woman who's attracted to him against her better judgment." --Kenneth Turan, The Los Angeles Times

"The entire story is a set-up for the martial arts and chases. Because they are done well, because the movie is well-crafted and acted, we give it a pass. Too bad it's not about something... The movie is unnecessary, but not unskilled." -- Roger Ebert, Chicago Sun-Times

"... a smart and satisfying spy thriller...director Doug Liman ('Swingers,' 'Go') helps give the material the equivalent of a shot of Botox that removes the Cold War wrinkles and makes everything look fresh and current...Thrillers have become so gnawingly generic that 'The Bourne Identity' wakes the senses without leaning on clichE` and soundtrack." ---Jami Bernard, The New York Daily News

"...there is enough forward motion in 'The Bourne Identity' to pin audiences backwards and enough nervous tension to put them on the edge... At its best when forsaking the high end of high-tech filmmaking in favor of character and chemistry, it happily violates most of the unfortunate rules of an oft-abused genre...Potente is a wisely chosen foil for Damon: If Ginger gave Fred sex and Fred gave Ginger class, Damon gives Franka stardom and Franka gives Matt sexual credibility." --John Anderson, Newsday