BLOGS

<I>Unknown</i>: Nice of Liam Neeson to Help Out This Lousy Movie By Being in It

Never one to miss out on Liam Neeson kicking the bejesus out of Europeans (almost as good as Jason Statham kicking the bejesus out of Los Angelenos!), naturally I was pumped about Unknown, the conspiracy thriller starring Neeson as an American in Berlin facing identity theft, a wife who disavows him and a whole mess of assassins. And while I left the theater more or less entertained, this movie's plot holes, logic problems and risibly tidy ending really detract from what could have been a great holdover until Taken 2. Unfortunately, it felt more like the direct-to-DVD sequel to Frantic.

That being said, the movie has a lot going for it. Liam Neeson is as charismatic as ever as a man frantically (see?) trying to prove his identity and reunite with his wife (January Jones) after a freak car accident in Berlin leaves him in a coma for four days, during which time another man has assumed his life, and his wife has begun to act like she doesn't recognize him anymore. It's a scary premise, and the story moves along at a brisk clip -- you might be constantly frustrated by how little it all makes sense, but you'll never be bored -- with a lot of good, Neeson-y fight scenes and a great supporting cast in Diane Kruger, Aidan Quinn and Bruno Ganz. January Jones and Frank Langella are a little less than great, however. Jones was wooden and, frankly, terrible, and Langella was cartoonishly evil, but you're inclined to forgive Langella for it. Jones, on the other hand, was so incomprehensibly awful at delivering her simple lines I kind of couldn't believe it. I'm as big a Mad Men fan as anybody, but she was so bad it just felt like I wasn't even watching the same actor at all. SNL was not just a fluke, it appears.

So that was disappointing, as was the over-the-top twist ending that I won't spoil for you but that just doesn't justify Neeson's actions at the end, or any of the supposedly "planned" accidents his character goes through, or the movie's biggest problem: why the bad guys wouldn't have just located and killed him while he was in a coma instead of letting him wake up and cause all these problems for them. Parts of it felt like normal suspension of disbelief for action thrillers, but a lot of it felt like amateur hour. And the neat and tidy ending? I haven't seen a bow wrapped up so tight, so quickly, or so ludicrously in a movie asking to be taken seriously in quite some time. It was almost as shockingly bad as January Jones's acting in everything outside of Mad Men.

Tell us what you thought of Unknown below, then see our round-up of Liam Neeson's most ass-kicking roles!

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