A couple years back Taken showed us that a fifty something Irishman could still be an action hero. Unknown carries on the tradtion of never being too old to kick some butt when things you care about are on the line. And while the movie invites comparison to its predecessor, it still differs in some key ways. Namely in Taken you and the character know what the hell is going on. Not so much in Unknown. It’s a bit more cerebral than Taken, and has much more in the ways of twists and turns in the plot.
Keeping things spoiler free: The plot revolves around Dr. Martin Harris (Liam Neeson) who shows up in Berlin with his wife for a major bio-technology seminar. After getting into a car accident he falls into a coma for 4 days. After he wakes up people, including his wife, don’t seem to recognize him. On top of that another man claiming to be Dr. Martin Harris enters the picture, and actaully having proper documents, presents a more convincing case to the authorites. Harris wanders around in a confused daze and, through twists of fate, teams up with a Bosnian immigrant and a Cold War relic to figure out just what exactly is going on.
The movie is a little less action packed than Taken. And honestly, the picture of him on the poster holding a gun is a bit misleading. In Taken the goals are clear. Unknown isn’t nearly as giving in that department. The suspense here comes from…(sigh, I can’t believe I’m about to do this) the unknown. You the viewer know as little as he does. As a viewer you’re forced to put the pieces together yourself. It is far less cut-and-dry as brutalizing Eastern European sex traders and the satisfaction you get knowing they totally have it coming. This one is a little more psychological. [Insert obligatory reviewer sound bite about how it keeps you guessing until the very end].
It also invites the comparison of The Bourne Identity in that it is an action thriller wherein the main character’s indenity is uncertain. Of course Jason Bourne wakes up and doesn’t know who he is. Dr. Harris wakes up and it’s everybody else that doesn’t know who he is. It’s also very similarly paced. Though the real meat of the theme here is the concept of identity theft. Which in our technological age is a constant fear we have. And rightfully so. (Though for me it only ever went as far as purchases made at a Forever-21 in Modesto, California.)
In short: It’s not really the Taken 2 that it is made out to be by the trailers. But it’s a good time nonetheless.
EDIT: I almost forgot the area showtimes.