Unknown: Liam Neeson Knows How To Kick Ass

18 02 2011

It’s understandable why some may liken Liam Neeson’s Unknown to his 2008 movie, Taken – I mean, even the posters look the same. But the main similarity between the two movies is Liam Neeson’s undeniable ability to mete out punishment to the bad guys, all the while, delivering entertaining and intelligent action movies to audiences everywhere. Here’s the breakdown:

When Dr. Martin Harris (Neeson) wakes up from a coma, he finds his identity has been stolen. Even his wife (January Jones) doesn’t seem to know who he is. Confused and increasingly wary of foul-play, Harris enlists the help of a taxi driver (Diane Kruger) and an ex-spy (Bruno Ganz) to help him solve the mystery.

The Monkey: Liam Neeson proves, once again, that he has what it takes to be an action star. He’s able to make the audience genuinely care about his character, without getting soft or sentimental. Kruger has scant little to do in the movie, but what she does do, she does well. She’s pulled into Martin’s world of lies and betrayal with a believable amount of naïveté and survivor’s instinct. The real standout, however, is Bruno Ganz as Ernst Jürgen, former German spy and Martin’s unlikely ally. His presence dominates the screen, and he brings a level of class and distinction that helps elevate Unknown above your average action/thriller.

It’s hard for a movie nowadays to be both original and coherent; usually, a movie will sacrifice believability and cohesion in exchange for an utterly absurd and unpredictable twist, or else be painfully obvious from the very beginning. Unknown succumbs to neither pitfall, but manages to be original and pack quite the punch of an ending.

The Weasel: I can only hope January Jones does a better job on the much-lauded AMC series Mad Men and will pull off Emma Frost in the upcoming X-Men: First Class, because if Unknown is any indication of her acting abilities, I’ll avoid both at all cost. At least she was in mercifully few scenes; however, her existing scenes were so stilted and wooden, I half-expected to see marionette strings tied to her joints.

The film’s revelations were uncovered a bit suddenly, and with hardly any character development for Martin; there was barely any explanation for his actions during the film’s climax. The ending also dragged on slightly, illuminating some pacing issues that plagued the film throughout.

A solid, sophisticated action/thriller, Unknown will keep you guessing and bring me back to the theatre for repeat viewings.

4.5 Death Stars out of 5

What do you think? Did you find Unknown too similar to Taken? Did the ending satisfy you? Share your thoughts in the comments!

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2 responses

21 02 2011
scarletsp1der

so, I continually am amazed at the similarity of what both you and I find to talk about in our movie reviews. I just posted mine earlier today and then came to check on your page….you mentioned January Jones’ bad acting and hope for better performance in X-Men! haha…..so did I! Nice work!

You know what they say about great minds! Hope you had a great weekend!

21 02 2011
Dustin

Thanks for the comment! Great minds indeed! 🙂

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