Liam Neeson is a hard-assed ex-spy in this French-produced thriller, written by Luc Besson (The Professional). Neeson goes man-alone against the underworld gang who've kidnapped his estranged daughter in Paris. Says he to the perpetrators: "I don't know you who you are. I don't know what you want. If you're looking for a ransom, I can tell you, I don't have money. But what I do have are a very particular set of skills acquired over a very long career in the shadows, skills that make me a nightmare for people like you. If you let my daughter go now, that will be the end of it. I will not look for you, I will not pursue you. But if you don't, I will look for you, I will find you. And I will kill you."
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Neeson's Bryan is a retired super-spy, but far from any kind of ingenuity and stealth the formidable special skills he boasts of to his daughter's kidnappers apparently turn out to be 'blundering into rooms', 'killing people remorselessly' and 'producing an IV drip from nowhere when the situation demands it'. Worse still, any mystery about who's nabbed his spoilt-brat daughter is dispelled within a couple of minutes of it happening - he gets his ex-spy buddy to analyse a recorded phone call and everything is revealed. Oh, right... that's that then. ... More
All that's left is scene after scene of up-close neck snapping and point blank executions, an incomprehensibly edited shaky-cam car chase and some nasty sub-Jack Bauer 'information extraction' which sours the tone further. Any sympathy you have for Bryan's plight soon runs out once his cold, clinical methods are revealed.
Perhaps the film was meant to analyse the lengths someone will go to in order to protect their offspring. Perhaps it was supposed to raise questions about what is acceptable behaviour when dealing with scumbags. Or perhaps it was just supposed to be an ass-kicking rollercoaster ride. It fails on all counts - Neeson's a poor man's Rambo, and Paris is his Burma. You'd expect better from all involved.
The Peoples' Reviews
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I went to see this movie last night and thought it was a great film to see, it opens your eyes to a world where behind money and closed doors is a very inconveinient truth, and it does happen, not just in paris but around the world and we seem to be quite oblivious to it at times, similar to (for example) blood diamond. Cast was fantastic good to see liam again great action scenes and better than the bourne movies it has been related to. top notch!!!
This was way too violent. You should never shoot people in the back as they run away. And the car chase was badly edited - couldn't tell what was going on. Aside from Liam Neeson being strong as the lead, this is only a movie to watch whilst drunk or hungover. NZ Herald is completely wrong with its 4 stars.