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A movie directed by Jaume Collet-Serra.

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Total Recall Meets The Bourne Identity

  • Jul 14, 2011
  • by
Unknown might be the most preposterous movie of a year that most films decided to stop suspending disbelief and let it rest on the floor for a while. Common sense is left to drown in a sea of movie cliches and utter lunacy while plot holes make a Swiss cheese out of the script.


Ok, if you know the movie's main trick, namely that it's a rip-off of Total Recall, you'll know that the entire film is driven by this dastardly scheme: "We need to steal some computers files and kill a scientist." Here are the options:

1. Send in the Seal Team 6 Bravo Echo Echo squad.
2. Send an assassin to give the dude a double-tap while he's sat on the throne playing Agree Birds.
3. Train several agents to impersonate two fake people to get close to him and have some backup agents just in case one of them happens to go through a completely unpredictable series of coincidences that leaves him stuck in his new persona.

Naturally, the needlessly complicated option is what "the agency" or whomever decided upon a course of action went for. Almost everything that happens after the first two minutes is a cliched coincidence (I left my briefcase with all my shit at the airport!), moronic (let's not check the pockets of the dead assassin for ID), or forced (the people next door are having sex, loudly, which is presumably to drown out the dialog). It just goes on and on. The film also features the most pointless suicide in movie history - a Stasi ex-bad ass take a cyanide pill when he could simply have walked out of his front door. 

There's even a scene where the bad guys capture Neeson and decide to start monologging instead of just shooting him. You'll notice that Seal Team 6 Echo Echo chose not to hang Bid Laden above a tank of sharks with frickin' laser beams on their heads and went for the more final BANG BANG approach. And just for kicks, you can guess where the only black guy in the movie ends up? BANG BANG. He didn't stand a chance.

Saving the best for the end, I'm pondering aloud how it is that January Jones is famous. Is it the same people who got Steve Guttenberg on the A-list in the 80s? If she'd been born a month before would we have a real life Christmas Jones? Well if you thought her wooden, miserable acting was somehow part of the Mad Men character, it's actually her. In real life she must drive all around her to antidepressants. Neeson wondered through this mess like an aging Jason Bourne but without the freshness - probably because hanging around January Jones made him wish he'd made the sequel to Taken instead. Somebody please send Jones a Happy Meal.

Overall Unknown would have been better if they'd raided Total Recall for Richael Ticotin, Sharon Stone, the girl with three boobs and replaced all the taxis in this film - and there are a lot - with JohhnyCabs. Neeson could even have brought some of a trademark attitude when Kuato tells him to 'start the reactor'. "No, *you* start the reactor you mutant fucking muppet!" Seriously.

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July 29, 2011
This is one of those flicks I liked the first half and the longer it went, the pay off just collapsed on itself. Nice one, James!
July 29, 2011
Yeah, as the plot became more and more absurd it kind of lost me.
More Unknown (2011 movie) reviews
review by . February 20, 2011
posted in Movie Hype
After the simple and yet engaging action-thriller, Liam Neeson returns to the genre with director Jaume Collet-Serra’s (Orphan) “Unknown”. The film is based on a French novel by Didier Van Cauweleat called “Out of My Head” and has been given the staples of a Hollywood actioner with the elements of a Hitchcock tale. It is relentless, entertaining, suspenseful despite the fact that it may have overplayed the aces in its hand. It also helps when you have Liam Neeson in …
review by . July 09, 2011
posted in Movie Hype
**1/2 out of ****     It doesn't take a person of extreme intelligence to realize that Liam Neeson is a registered ass-kicker. The 59-year-old actor has appeared in many very cool, and many very mediocre films; but he's almost always guaranteed to put on the best show of the entire product. "Unknown", his newest movie, is really nothing more-or-less different than the usual Neeson walk-about. The actor has a problem he must overcome. In the end, he ends up serving up sweet justice. …
review by . February 19, 2011
posted in Movie Hype
Star Rating:         Unknown is an utterly preposterous film, but if you grant its assumptions, it will keep you engaged and take you on a thrilling ride. It stars Liam Neeson as Dr. Martin Harris, who travels to Berlin with his wife, Liz (January Jones), to speak at a biotechnology conference and meet a botanist who has made an important breakthrough. A cab ride back to the airport goes wrong; a truck loses its shipment, causing the cab to swerve off the road, zoom …
Quick Tip by . July 28, 2011
posted in Movie Hype
Unfortunately, unlike his exhilarating revenge/rescue film Taken, this rather predictable and derivative action film starring Liam Neeson has little to offer in the way of originality or believability. The plot is outrageously silly and is very much reminiscent of The Fugitive and The Bourne Identity.      The story revolves around a man who comes to Germany with his wife to attend a scientific summit only to end up being involved in a car crash. When he comes to from a coma, …
review by . February 18, 2011
Two Jews On Film Review 'UNKNOWN'
What if you know deep down, who you really were, but couldn't prove it?  And what if someone else - someone you didn't know- claimed to be you and everyone believed him? That is the dilemma Dr. Martin Harris (Liam Neeson) faces in the film 'Unknown'.      Dr. Martin Harris, a botanist, arrives with his wife, Liz (January Jones) at the Hotel Adion in Berlin for a biotechnology summit.  When Martin realizes that his briefcase was left behind at the airport, …
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James Beswick ()
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About this movie


Dr. Martin Harris (Liam Neeson) awakens after a car accident in Berlin to discover that his wife, Liz (January Jones), suddenly doesn't recognize him and another man (Aidan Quinn) has assumed his identity. Ignored by disbelieving authorities and hunted by mysterious assassins, he finds himself alone, tired, and on the run. Aided by an unlikely ally, Gina (Diane Kruger), Martin plunges headlong into a deadly mystery that will force him to question his sanity, his identity, and just how far he is willing to go to uncover the truth. In the end it is revealed that Martin Harris is actually a part of an assassination team. He loses his memory and begins to believe his cover after getting hurt in the car crash. The impostor is actually his backup on the team.
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Director: Jaume Collet-Serra
Genre: Drama, Mystery, Thriller
Release Date: 18 February 2011 (USA)
MPAA Rating: PG-13
Runtime: 113 min
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