Review: The Shallows (2016)

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Blake Lively shares the screen with a blood-thirty shark in Jaume Collet-Serra’s trashy, yet highly entertaining thriller. It clocks in at a trim 80-odd minutes, most of which is spent out at sea with Lively’s Nancy as she tries to escape the clutches of a shark who’s already had at her leg, leaving her clung to a rock. Continue reading “Review: The Shallows (2016)”

Review: Non-Stop (2014)

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Liam Neeson continues his bizarre transition from Oscar-winner to action star with Non-Stop, a ludicrous, yet undeniably entertaining mile-high thriller that re-teams Neeson with Unknown director Jaume Collet-Serra. Bill Marks (Neeson), a Federal Air Marshall with a troubled past, is forced to spring into action when he starts to receive text messages threatening passengers aboard his transatlantic flight from New York to London. Continue reading “Review: Non-Stop (2014)”

Review: Unknown (2011)

Loosely based on Didier van Cauwelaert’s novel Out Of My Head, Unknown is an action-thriller from director Jaume Collet-Serra.

Dr. Martin Harris (Liam Neeson) awakens after a car accident in Berlin to discover that his wife (January Jones) suddenly doesn’t recognise 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 (Diane Kruger), Martin plunges headlong into a deadly mystery that will force him to question his sanity, his identity, and just how far he’s willing to go to uncover the truth.

In many ways the plotline is reminiscent of many recent thrillers, although not identical. It’s certainly infeasible to call Unknown an original entry into the fickle genre, but the script harbours enough twists and thrills to stop it being labelled a complete failure.

The same, however, can’t be said for the dialogue and delivery, which are both somewhat lacklustre in comparison.

On a positive note, the action scenes are excellently filmed by Collet-Serra, especially the superb car chases through the iconic streets of Berlin – entertaining to watch, but too generic to really matter.

Much of the cinematography remains squarely in the gray-blue territory which, along with the overblown colours used in the flashback scenes, is a choice that sometimes makes the action seem a little bewildering and uninspired for such an intriguing premise.

The acting, although a little exaggerated at times, is adequate enough, with steadfast turns from Kruger and Jones. Neeson, on the other hand, is a disappointment, reducing Martin to a irksome, uninteresting character. His performance here is almost exactly the same as the one he delivered in Taken.

Unknown is a humdrum, implausible and clunky action-thriller, with mediocre performances and direction.