Let’s be clear about one thing: Unknown wanted to be 2011’s Taken. It was released early in the year, has a sexy European setting, is practically a one-man Liam Neeson show and is about him trying to get something back. This time it’s his identity, a bit more abstract an idea, and it all goes downhill from there.
The film opens with a loving couple arriving in Berlin for a big biochemistry convention, or something. Anyway, the big man accidentally leaves his suitcase at the airport and he has to go back. Unfortunately for him, his taxi gets in a terrible accident and he wakes up in the hospital days later. When he tries to meet with his wife he finds her with another man – who goes by his name. Indeed, somehow this other man knows everything about the life of Dr. Martin Harris. So, how did he manage to steal Harris’ life? Or is there something even more sinister going on here?
Well it sure takes a long time to find out. At almost two hours, Unknown is able to twist a little too much. This should have been an action movie, and the action sequences are quite good, but much of our time is spent wandering, contemplating. And as the truth slowly, slowly, is revealed, the movie goes from exciting to a bit of a letdown. That said, Neeson is good, the supporting cast is fine, and there is at least one good chase scene in the movie. Surprising lack of ass kicking, though.
Ultimately I was fine with having seen Unknown, but did I chastise my friends who chose not to see it? No, they didn’t really miss anything. If you like Liam Neeson playing the confused yet capable action guy, you might get a kick out of this movie. Otherwise, well, I dunno, go see something else. The pickings are pretty slim these days, however. Maybe buy a video game instead.