With “Taken”, Liam Neeson was anointed as the new Harrison Ford, the grim unsmiling seeker of personal vengeance whose humorlessness is proof of his righteousness. It makes sense that Unknown rips off Ford classics like Frantic and The Fugitive, along with Neeson’s own Taken and the entire Bourne series.
Unknown was filmed to cash in on Taken’s success, but it can’t even decide if it’s an action movie or a thriller. In a plot lifted from a dozen movies, Neeson wanders around Europe in search of his memory and on the run from a generically evil corporation. The entire implausible story is just convoluted enough so that you won’t care about its ridiculousness, but there isn’t enough action to give you anything else to care about.
Unknown isn’t bad, it’s just bleakly mediocre. A thin copy of a copy of Hitchcock. A weak stab at doing Bourne. Where Taken felt fresh, this feels like the oldest movie in the book. The miscasting borders on the comic. A blank January Jones plays a human mannequin. Diane Kruger plays the world’s least plausible taxi driver. The final confrontation fizzles. Neeson is the only thing Unknown has going for it, but the movie has nothing to offer him except a few lines that even Bruce Willis would have winced at.