Main reason why Neeson should have just taken that Abraham Lincoln role.
Liam Neeson stars as a man who regains consciousness after an auto accident only to discover that another man is impersonating him, and that no one — not even his wife (January Jones) — recognizes his identity as the real Dr. Martin Harris. Finding himself with an unexpected ally (Diane Kruger), Harris struggles to solve the mystery and hang onto his own wits, while also being stalked by anonymous killers.
When you have a mixture of ‘Taken’ and ‘The Bourne Identity’ for a plot, Qui-Gon Jinn as the lead, and a whole bunch of Nazis as your villains, it seems very hard for a film like this to not be entertaining but there is only so much I can take.
The whole premise itself tries to be like a thriller that is meant for adults but could have even targeted at teenagers due to how silly it is. The whole first hour builds up on this premise and actually does a great job with it. I felt a lot of tension during this first hour as I didn’t quite know what was going to happen next nor did I know where this film was going to end up, which is always a nice recipe for a good popcorn thriller. However, things just started getting way out-of-hand real quick.
Probably one of the main problems with this flick was the fact that there was too much starting-and-stopping going on here where they would focus on the plot and build it, then they would add in a random car chase or one-on-one brawl to spice things up a little bit. This to me was OK the first 2 times they did it, but then they just kept on doing it the whole damn time and I honestly just couldn’t stay attached to this plot because right when I would, they would throw in an action sequence just so I wouldn’t have been bored even though I wasn’t in the first place.
Another department where this film doesn’t quite work is the fact that I knew where this plot was going because usually when you have one like this, that usually means that you’re going to get a lot of silliness that eventually leads to an utterly ridiculous plot twist. The plot twist itself wasn’t too bad and I actually think it kind of worked in a way but once it is revealed then everything starts to turn into the ridiculous action-thriller cliches that we are so used to seeing nowadays. It seems like director Jaume Collet-Sera just likes putting in plot twists that somehow work and make sense but then likes to knock them down with being predictable. He did it with ‘Orphan’ and I guess he hasn’t learned much.
Liam Neeson always tries his hardest with everything he ever appears in and his performance as Dr. Martin Harris, is no different. There are plenty of ridiculous and overboard things that he does but Neeson makes it seem believable just by being the way he is. Still, at age 59, doesn’t seem a little unbelievable that this guy could still be considered an action star that can do half of the things that he does in all of his films. Maybe it’s time for him to start trying for Oscars again.
The way the rest of the cast looks, makes this film seem like we were going to get a real treat but nobody really adds anything to this flick either. Diane Kruger plays a non-German for a film that is set entirely in Berlin, which is a big problem especially when her Bosnian accent isn’t very good as she struggles through a lot of her lines; January Jones is very bad as Elizabeth Harris and REALLY struggles through her lines; and Frank Langella and Bruno Ganz are the only two that actually show some real talent and give off one of the best scenes of the film, even though that’s not saying much in the first place.
Consensus: Liam Neeson is good as usual and there are some good moments that work, but Unknown is just another silly, predictable, and uninteresting thriller that doesn’t do much with its intriguing premise and feels like it’s trying to hard to be an action flick that still tries to rely on the plot for more thrills, but instead offers up barely any.