Gun in hand, check.
European city, check.
Women in peril, check.
The poster even has the word take on it for cocks sake!
Do you think the people who marketed this movie had seen Taken's box office results?
Proving once and for all that marketing people are completely worthless shit-heels with no grasp on reality, here comes an ad campaign and a poster purely designed to get bums on seats that opening weekend by convincing us all that, essentially, Taken 2 is out, after which, once word of mouth spreads about what a disappointing, sub-par Bourne rip off, Euro-thriller snoozefest this whole mess of a film is, I will imagine there will be considerably less bums on seats come next weekend.
Without giving too much away, Neeson comes to Berlin with January Jones and leaves his suitcase at the airport. On his way back to get the suitcase the cab he is in crashes, plunges into the river, he goes into a coma, wakes up 4 days later and nobody will acknowledge who he really is. It is now up to Neeson to find out who he really is and to stop the bad guys. Only he doesn't really do that, he sort of wonders about not doing very much, screaming at the police to have total strangers arrested.
It's an absolutely ludicrous set up but instead of being played with an action, b-movie, shits and giggles sensibility it is instead played like a ponderous, straight faced, tedious re-telling of the Bourne Identity, in fact in Germany it is actually called "Unknown Identity"!.
In the beginning I personally didn't mind it all so much, Neeson's always fun to watch and the appearance of Bruno Ganz is always a welcome adition because not only is he a terrific actor, his face is also pleasingly ridiculous but to have him as an ex-stazi gumshoe was pretty inspired, the movie should've been called "Bruno Ganz knows who you are and if he doesn't right away, he will!"
Sadly this promising premise gave way to Neeson's most goggle-eyed, hammy acting since Darkman as he followed a bloated looking Aidan Quinn, of all people, round Berlin shouting at him. Apparently when Hollywood can't get Neeson or they want someone to play 'the other Neeson' they flick through the rolodex and say in a loud American voice 'Get me Aidan Quinn!!'
I did go with it all, as best I could, during this first viewing but by the time the fairly obvious yet whoringly implausible twist rears it's bedraggled head and I realised what I was actually watching, it did loose me. Big time.
It's one of those films that very VERY quickly after it's done you can pull it a part in a manner of seconds. The plot unravels quicker than a cheap woolen jumper and it suddenly dawns on you that nothing makes any sense and it's all hung by the very flimsiest of threads. To go into why here would necessitate not only revealing vast chunks of plot but also writing a ton of wasted paragraphs explaining why a not very good thriller is just that, a not very good thriller. Then when you throw in the fact that from Total Recall to the Bourne films via any number of straight-to-TV movie of the week offerings, you have pretty much seen this all before, it begins to leave a very bad taste and be a rather disappointing experience in general.
You see, I don't mind a hokey, silly thriller full of unbelievable nonsense if it's played like that, if everyone is obviously there for the fun hokeyness of it. As it is everyone in this flick thinks they're making an incredibly tense and serious art film or something as it contains more crinkled brows and quizzical looks than a meeting of 75 year old nuns being shown an episode of Footballer's Wives, the only person who escapes with a modicum of dignity is Herr Ganz.
A disappointing 5 out of 10 bland and soggy bratwursts
Points from The Wife 5 out of 10