I was pretty excited about this film, I'm love Liam Neeson doing action, it's like a "proper" actor kicking ass.
Taken was an action film tour de force and on seeing the trailer for Unknown I was thinking of it as kind of a Taken 2. It is set in Europe, there are car chases and explosions, Neeson even indulges in a little fisticuffs. But don't be mistaken, Taken is a very well written film that it is based on some guy saving his daughter in the still original setting of human trafficking (only really comparable to Eastern Promises from the previous year). It puts this narrative into an action driven yet superbly acted package. Conversely Unknown takes an unoriginal plot, it's no spoiler to say that it's an amnesia film, which keeps you guessing in an OK whodunit kind of way. It's a predictable flimsy actor driven action thriller.
The fact that it is actor driven is the problem, mainly because most of the actors are really pretty rubbish. Don't get me wrong I still love Neeson, like a good chutney he gets better as he gets older, he carries the film, I can't think of anyone who would do a better job. January Jones though, who plays his wife, is just terrible, I can't even get started on why, she's bland, boring and unbelievable, completely miscast. Diane Kruger (mostly in my mind for being Helen in Troy) does well. There are a couple of bad guys in there which are OK too, but Neeson's main adversary Aiden Quinn is soft, his sad puppy eyes just got irritating. Bruno Ganz who plays an unapologetic ex-East German spy is good, as is Frank Langella (who I will only ever be able to think of as Richard Nixon). If they'd have held out for stronger actors for one or two of the supporting (but very important) roles the film could have been really very good, but they didn't so it's OK, just OK.
A disappointing 6/10