No MSG! - mono-spoiler glutamate
Welcome back, 90-minute action thriller, I’ve missed you!
These days, longer seems better, but given a decent actor and relentless pacing, a short chase movie can be the perfect reprieve from two plus hour “epic” films.
This isn’t particularly new ground – father figure killing his way up a gang hierarchy to save his daughter from kidnappers. But this time the father is Liam freaking Neeson. He’s a genuine actor, so to see him dive into what should be a role for someone younger and greener in the biz, is an interesting juxtaposition.
Neeson plays a retired spy, Bryan Mills, trying to reconnect with his teenaged daughter, Kim, after missing much of her life. Even though he is uneasy about it, he caves to her request to go on a trip to Paris with a friend. Upon arrival at their Paris hotel, the girls are kidnapped and Bryan springs into action.
The draw of this kind of movie isn’t the story, though; it’s the star and the action. Anyone else and this would have been just a sub-par action movie, but with Neeson’s stone cold gaze and surprising brutality it’s a fun watch. The rest of the cast are set-pieces: the bereaved mother, the foreign goons, the wimpy French cops. They fulfill their roles by really making Neeson stand out and shine.
When it comes to the slick action film, we’ve seen many unlikely stars rise as action heroes, Matt Damn in the Bourne series and Daniel Craig in the Bond series, and Neeson has got his foot in the door with this role.
The main flaw about the film is that the story is so firmly entrenched in cliché. It will certainly be hit or miss with many viewers. See this film for the action, but remember the check your brain at the door, you won’t need it.