22 February 2011

Unknown

Not Taken by Unknown



Let’s get this out of the way from the beginning. Unknown is not Taken. It is not a sequel to it. It is not on the same plane as it. Taken was a phenomenal film. Unknown just rides on the coattails. Liam Neeson has found a niche market for himself, action hero. He is almost 60 years old, but he is now an action hero.

Unknown struggles mainly with its pacing. It does not have a good flow. It opens with martin Harris (Neeson) and his wife Liz (January Jones) on an airplane, then landing in Berlin. He is then involved in a car accident, hits his head, goes into a coma, and wakes up four days later to find that his wife has forgotten who he is and has replaced him with a convincing Martin Harris 2 (Aidan Quinn). Neeson is convinced that he is the real Martin Harris not Quinn, and goes about proving it.

He starts by finding Gina (Diane Kruger), the taxi driver when he was in the accident. She has a weird backstory that was supposed to make her more rounded. It felt a little forced. Then, poor Harris hires an ex-Nazi hunter to validate his story. After a hand-to-hand fight and a car chase through the streets of Berlin, I gave up on this movie. Why would a botanist know how to fight? Why would be able to drive like that?

Finally, Frank Langella shows up as a co-worker to Martin Harris to explain what is going on. But it was too late. I had already written this movie off as dumb. The writer should have watched The Long Kiss Goodnight. They knew how to tell a similar story, but tell it correctly. The movie really had no sense of tension or urgency. The plot was convoluted, but not in a good way.

In the end, Unknown could have and should have been better. It should have been a thriller. It could have been a decent action flick. Sadly, it failed on both accounts. I am glad I watched it though. Verdict: A Red Box rental? Absolutely! Netflix? Indeed. The $10 ticket? Nope.

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