‘Unknown’ tends to be forgettable

Unknown (2011)

Directed by  Jaume Collet-Serra

5.5/10  PG-13

Liam Neeson has “taken” it upon himself to relieve Harrison Ford of his my-family-is-in-danger-and-I-have-to-race-against-time-and-foreign-villains-to-save-them-movie duties. And he makes it work. Directed by Barcelonan Jaume Collet-Serra (Orphan), Neeson’s latest, Unknown, takes this concept to a new level in a sort of “amnesia-thriller” (think Memento).

Delusion or reality? Dr. Martin Harris, played by Neeson, must tackle this when his Berlin taxicab flies off the road and into a river, causing Harris to suffer an amnesia-inducing concussion. After a brief state of comatose, Harris returns to the hotel he had been staying in for a scientific research symposium, only to discover that another man (Aidan Quinn) is claiming that he is in fact Dr. Martin Harris, and Harris’s wife (Mad Men’s January Jones) even plays along. Has Harris lost his mind, or is this a predetermined plot to take the identity of the revolutionary scientist? Paranoia sets in, and Harris procures the help of his recovered taxi driver (Diane Kruger) and a private investigator (Bruno Ganz) to help him find the truth caped in this mystery.

After just a short time, Unknown becomes a spectator sport. Just as it is with your favorite March Madness teams, Liam Neeson and his taxi driver become the subjects of intense rooting, and their antagonists are instantly vilified. The believable performances only encourage the intense emotional attachment. While the story can seem a bit of a stretch every now and again, this action-packed thrill ride can get your blood pumping. And the best part? It’s perfect for the whole family with its PG-13 rating.

Neeson is now a go-to star for all things adrenaline-filled, from A-Team to Taken to Star Wars Episode I: The Phantom Menace. Later this year, Neeson can be seen manning ship in Battleship, reprising his Batman Begins role in The Dark Knight Rises, and kicking butt in the still-untitled Taken sequel (Which, of the three, I am least excited for. Who gets taken this time?).

Unknown is no classic, but for fans of Taken, it should tide you over between the original and its sequel.

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