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Action Fluff

Rating: 2 out of 5 stars.

Despite being nearly 60, Liam Neeson has had a sort of career reinvention as an action star. While itís usually a young manís game, Taken was a well received, no-brainer, tough-guy film. Those hoping that Unknown will be of similar qualities, however, may be let down.

Like Taken, it isnít a thinking manís action/thriller, but is solely contingent on the task at hand. Yet, the scripts inconsistencies are much more glaring, confusing and, ultimately, tiresome. Still thereís enough action, suspense, and hell-bent Neeson to pick up an otherwise mediocre affair.

Neeson is Dr. Martin Harris, a botanist arriving in Berlin for a Biotech Summit. However, after he arrives at his hotel he realizes that he left his briefcase, with identification, at the airport and quickly heads back to retrieve it. Along the way his cab, driven by Gina (Diane Kruger), crashes into a river. He awakes four days later in the hospital wondering why his wife Liz (January Jones) isnít at his side. He heads back to his hotel to find that not only is she claiming not to know him, but that there is another Martin Harris (Aidan Quinn) at her side.

Neesonís acting is strong enough to keep the audience on his side, even as everyone around him is far from convinced about his identity. Logically, he returns to the only person whoís aware of his existence in Berlin, Gina, who also saved his life. But just as he finds her, he finds heís someoneís target and the two are on the run, trying to put together the pieces.

As the movie gets deeper and deeper into the ďmysteryĒ it becomes less and less compelling, unfortunately and begins to feel more and more like a watered down Bourne film. The amnesia aspect doesnít help. Jaume Collet-Serraís direction is solid, but itís really the acting that drives the film, specifically Neesonís and Krugerís. Their talent keeps the film afloat even as it begins to unravel with each ďdiscovery,Ē each one sucking just a little more suspense out of the story.

What really suffers is a very poor third act, from a fairly poor script. The writing just feels lazy and unoriginal. The amnesia aspect has been done to death, but there was something original that could have been explored with this film. Unfortunately, it feels as if a first draft were hurried into production. Itís not supposed to be a think piece, but a tighter script wouldnít leave you asking so many questions about a film with barely any plot to begin with. But if youíre looking for an action movie that will satisfy for two hours, Unknown isnít a bad choice.