Liam Neeson seems to have taken a different career path lately. These days, instead of the high brow, Oscar-worthy stuff that he used to do regularly, he's now starring in a lot of action films. His latest is called “Unknown.”
Nesson is Dr. Martin Harris. Along with his wife, played by “Mad Men's” January Jones, they arrive in Berlin where he's scheduled to attend an important symposium. But a car accident changes his plans dramatically.
When he gets back to the hotel, he finds that his wife doesn't know who he is. He also discovers that someone else has taken his identity.
The authorities don't believe him, and with no identification to prove who he says he is, his predicament only goes from bad to worse.
Neeson tries to piece together what's going on, but his only lead is the woman who was driving the taxi that crashed. She's played by Diane Kruger.
Not only does he not know what's going on, but Neeson also finds himself on the run from assassins who want to silence him forever.
“Unknown” is a movie that does start out well. For the first half hour, you will be interested in what's happening on screen, and the initial premise, although not very original, did have potential.
But the director and screenwriters squander away lots of opportunities. The movie degenerates into a standard shoot-‘em-up thriller as it borrows liberally from tons of other action/spy films. Often it seems like many scenes were cut and pasted from other screenplays.
Neeson is in sort of a one-note mode and his performance reminded me a lot of his work in the movie “Taken.”
Jones is rather stiff and Frank Langella is in the film all too briefly to make any sort of a difference.
The Berlin locales and the action sequences are filmed well. Plus the director does manage to keep your curiosity up with this mystery even though the ending, which I won't give away, is sort of ridiculous.
It's the kind of movie that when it comes on HBO or Showtime, it'll be a semi-satisfying diversion, that despite its implausibility, will fit the bill, But it's definitely not worth full price at the box office.
Neil Rosen's Big Apple Rating: Two Apples