Rated PG-13 for some intense sequences of violence and action, and brief sexual content, 113 minutes
Far-fetched but entertaining Neeson thriller “Unknown”
Two years ago character actor Liam Neeson proved himself to be a capable action hero in the thriller “Taken,” and he again sufficiently proves himself in the new action film “Unknown.” Entertaining, fast-paced but a little silly, particularly in its last act, “Unknown” is engaging enough to hold its audience in spite of a few plot holes.
Dr. Martin Harris (Liam Neeson) awakens after a car accident in Berlin to discover that his wife (January Jones) suddenly doesn't recognize him and another man (Aidan Quinn) has assumed his identity. Ignored by disbelieving authorities and hunted by mysterious assassins, he finds himself alone, exasperated, and always on the run. With help from an unlikely ally (Diane Kruger), Martin plunges headlong into a deadly mystery that will force him to discover who he really is.
“Unknown” is a captivatingly swift late-winter action-thriller entry that’s part action-adventure, part-spy thriller, though I won’t reveal any key plot details. There a few inconsistencies that you’re sure to pick up on throughout the film, until the last act when it goes a little overboard on twists and turns. “Unknown” is an interesting film: an American production filmed in Germany that’s based on a French novel “Out of My Head.”
A tad preposterous, “Unknown” is standard action-thriller that will likely sweep you off your feet due in large part of the likability of Neeson, who carries the film in nearly every scene. He’s also well-paired with the tough Kruger, best-known for being a side-kick to another well-known actor, Nicolas Cage, in the even sillier “National Treasure” films.
“Mad Men’s” voluptuous beauty January Jones is also well-cast as Harris’ mysterious wife; Quinn is a bit of a waste as the bad guy, who’s given little screen time, while Langella makes the most of a very brief role. Even more memorable is Swiss character actor Bruno Ganz (“The Reader”) in a strong supporting role as a wizened former police officer who helps Neeson’s character.
There are a few entertaining action scenes in the streets of Berlin, particularly a couple of decent car chases and it speeds to a somewhat predictable but explosive climax. It may or may not make sense to you in the end, and what is unknown may still be unknown, but what is for sure is that Neeson is an able action-adventure hero.
Wes's Grade: B-