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Unknown isn’t good, but that doesn’t matter these days. Movies are so rotten lately we’ve all lowered our standards out of sheer desperation. The new standard for movie-going is, “Can I risk it? Will I hate it so much it’ll give me a stroke right there in the theater? Will my eyes be seared by its visual ugliness, and my heart strained by its monstrous immorality? Or will I be able to sit through it safely in that nice restful theater darkness, and then mercifully forget it as I walk out into the dirty streets and go on with my life?”

If it’s not going to do us actual harm, good enough—we go. So we did go, all us movie-goers who are out of our teens, anyway. (The teens went to see I Am Number Four, poor saps.)

Unknown was marketed as a kind of posh follow-up to Taken, the low-budget 2008 hit that made Liam Neeson an action star. Like Taken, it’s got Neeson shambling around looking large and sad, and you have to wait for him to become large and mad, enough to start killing people who royally deserve it. But Unknown never really builds any momentum. It seems to take Neeson forever to figure anything out, forever to come to a boil, forever to unleash his Frankensteinian frame at anybody with malice aforethought. And then, after each rare instance of homicidal rage, he goes back to sad. That’s no way to run a railroad.


February 20th, 2011 | Comments (21)