Starring: Liam Neeson, Maggie Grace, Famke Janssen
Directed By: Pierre Morel
Running Time: 93 Minutes
Rating 8.5 out of 10
Ex government agent Bryan Mills (Neeson) has retired to spend more time with his estranged daughter (Grace). He is forced back into action when his daughter is kidnapped in Paris, and he only has a short window of opportunity to find her.
With a towering stature and deep commanding voice, Neeson literally dominates the screen in this movie. At his age, I thought this role would leave the viewer laughing but the thought never crossed my mind once in this film. He delivers an action movie that pretty much starts on high octane, and ends on the same high note. The movies weak starting sequence can be forgiven, as this films hurrying pace and quick action sequences seem to alleviate the obvious plot flaws and story weaknesses. With one of the greatest speeches in film history. Sorry let me correct that. Coolest speeches in film history, Neeson lets the viewer know what's coming. It is sort of like Babe Ruth calling his storied home run. He tells the bad guy I am coming to kill you, and boy does his path lead through a high body count and multiple fight sequences. This film has it all, from hand to hand combat, to car chase sequences, to knife and gun play. There is a little bit of something for any type of action lover out there. There is something really honest in the quiet brooding role that Neeson brings to this Bryan Mills character. Clearly he is a man distraught over the kidnapping of his daughter, but his focus and skills never waver. His calming presence seems believable even in situations where most people would be trembling. I seem to be focusing on Neeson a lot in this review, but really he is the movie. His ex wife played by Famke Jansen, is a run of the mill performance and adds little to the film. Bryan's daughter, played by Maggie Grace, is a sad example of overacting. She is clearly an older actress trying to play a younger character. There is a scene at her 17th birthday party where she gets a horse, and it is hard to sit through. Her overall personality is forced and awkward, leading me to wonder why an actual 17 year old couldn't have played that role? The story really has no hidden agendas or twists and turns. Nor does it need one, as Neeson directs it like an arrow to its high intensity bullseye conclusion. This was Directed by Pierre Morel, whose filmography makes him no stranger to successful action flicks. He collaborated on the Transporter, and directed the fantastic and virtually unknown foreign film, District 13. He does a good job with this but he should have known better as there are some glaring plot and editing flaws. Examples of errors are: Neeson does what he needs to do around Paris with a British accent, and yet no one seems to question this, even when he is pretending to be a french policeman. Secondly, he seems to avoid getting hit at an alarming rate. With so many bullets flying around in this movie, you would think he would have been a little more marked up. Lastly, there are some unexplained scenes, like the collection of hair off a mirror that never gets resolved. It seems strange for a veteran action director to make mistakes like this. None of those factors can really deter from this film though. Watching Neeson kicking ass and mowing down bad guys is an hour and a half well spent. I highly recommend this movie, and if you are in the mood for some high energy action and watching a man with a very particular set of skills, then this is the movie for you. The unrated version is much better then the theatrical.
T Factor + If you don't need strong a strong story line then this could score higher on the rating scale.
T Factor - If you need strong acting performances then this could score lower on the rating scale.
If you liked this film reel recommendations: Edge of Darkness, Spartan