Dave White
Unknown Review

Dave's Rating:


Bourne this way.

Who's In It: Liam Neeson, January Jones, Aidan Quinn, Diane Kruger, Frank Langella, Bruno Ganz

The Basics: Dr. Martin Harris (Neeson) takes his wife to Berlin for a biomedical conference, winds up in a random car accident, bonks his head, goes into a coma and, when he wakes up days later, finds that his lady no longer acknowledges knowing who he is AND, more insultingly, has a replacement husband also named Dr. Martin Harris. The new guy's got ID to back it up, too. Cue crazy implausibility piled on top of crazy implausibility on top of backwards car chases on top of gun battles on top of late-middle-age parkour skills on top of assassination plots and bio-thievery and international bomb throwing secret agents and the German dude from the YouTube sensation "Hitler Finds Out About ________" and you've got yourself more visceral excitement per minute than most action movies even bother to deliver.

What's The Deal: Like Taken, Liam Neeson's other kookoo-bananas action thriller, there's an alternate reading of this film available to the more overthinking-it audience members or students exploring modern themes of xenophobia in contemporary action movies. And it goes like this: Europe is terrible and ground zero of depraved crimes-for-hire, the worst known to humankind outside of child soldier-patrolled blood diamond operations in Africa. And Liam Neeson is the UK/America-sponsored minister of retribution, the way we assert badass moral authority over the excesses of democratic socialism. Meanwhile, if you don't care about any of that stuff, you can just sit back and count the eye-gouges, leadpipe skull smashing, judo chops and neckstabs. There's a lot of that.

Weird Acting Alert: It's kind of a toss-up as to who gives the goofier performance, Bruno Ganz or January Jones. She's blank and stiff and barely there, but you never know why. If "pretty" were an acting style then she'd be the master of it. Then there's Ganz (Americans know him from Downfall and Wings of Desire) a serious and acclaimed actor whose line readings here will make you think of Paula Abdul and Klonopin. Of course, some of the stuff he's required to say deserve that kind of tongue-in-cheek approach, but it's still odd to watch him do it.

The Best Part: Liam Neeson is an indestructible Frankensteiny feral animal with a head injury. He just wakes up from a coma and is suddenly jumping around on roofs and murdering people with his bare hands, finding human needles in German haystacks, reversing wrongs and outsmarting bad guys who have the edge of not just having been in a coma or planning their 60th birthday party. If it has to get done he's going to do it and, weirdly, you buy it.


Comments (12)

MB - 2-18-2011 7:29 AM
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I agree about January Jones being "blank and stiff". I'm going to see it today, but in the trailer alone her performance isn't believable. In her initial exchange with Neeson after he gets out to the hosptial, she didn't make me believe she WAS innocent. Seemed in on the elaborate joke. No worries though, Neeson will pick up the slack.

sohini - 2-18-2011 12:30 PM
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I am so with you on January Jones. I love Mad Men and she is perfect as Betty, but she is so dull, but very pretty. I hope she doesnt mess up X-Men,(although she will be perfect in the costume). I will go see this because Taken was good, not great, but was better then I expected.

Sbarney - 2-18-2011 7:56 PM
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Great movie! Just saw it and loved it! Had lots of action and the ending wasn't a dead give away like most movies! I recommend seeing the movie before trying to judge it by the trailer.

Heisenberg - 2-18-2011 9:01 PM
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Not sure about this review. It's full of spoilers, and also, the movie isn't really that action-y. Nowhere near as much as Taken. It's much more like a really, really good episode of The Twilight Zone with a few very intense action scenes here and there, a major twist, and, of course, a big finale. The first three quarters of the film are very trippy and bizarre and actually pretty tame violence-wise, at least in comparison to every other big studio movie out in the theatres right now.

randian1 - 2-19-2011 5:14 PM
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Onto a different movie. Atlas Shrugged movie trailer is on youtube.

Patricia Ortiz - 2-19-2011 10:07 PM
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Carrie - 2-22-2011 1:24 PM
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I love your reviews and your wit and always mean to log on to compliment you, so it gives me no pleasure to come on here and complain. BUT I purposely didn't read your review before leaving for this movie because I didn't want to know anything about it. As I was getting the showtime, I did see your headline Bourne This Way but didn't think much about it - except I knew it would be a good movie. I was just settling down to my seat with my popcorn and the movie about to start when I realized what your reference was about, and you literally ruined the suspense for me! Why did you do that? My husband said I should start my note "hey fu*k stain," but I decided against it. It's just a movie after all.

julia - 2-23-2011 6:25 PM
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I thought it had some major plot holes and parts were unrealistic, but I thought Liam Neeson did a good job. IT was overall exciting and pretty good if you can ignore the flaws.

mmmm - 2-24-2011 8:12 PM
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Did this guy watch the same movie I did? the movie was horrible, it was slow, and only had one good fight scene! I wanna punch this dude

failed - 2-28-2011 2:32 PM
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saw this yesterday, not impressed. didnt have the usual neeson action

Chase - 3-01-2011 6:19 PM
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They copied Bourne Identity, I would not suggest you see this movie, if you have already seen bourne Identity, it is a complete ripoff.

Aldon Samaha - 3-02-2011 11:44 AM
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I am just now reading the review. I saw the movie several days ago in spite of the bad review in USA Today. My wife and I are pretty good at judging whether or not we will like a movie by the previews, and we were right. We thoroughly enjoyed it. We also enjoyed the plot twist because the movie managed to fool us; we never suspected what was really going on. My final comment: we will probably see anything with Liam Neeson in it as we have never been disappointed. To Liam we say, full steam ahead and you can release the Kraken on us anytime you like.

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