Sunday, March 27, 2011

Movie review - Unknown - or (and here be spoilers) generic amnesiac assassin movie no 7

Once upon a time there was a movie about a highly skilled assassin who'd been brainwashed and this was called the Manchurian Candidate, it was remade, not terribly well with Denzel Washington, and then, once upon another time Geena Davis and Samuel l Jackson made a movie called the Long Kiss Goodnight, (which I enjoyed) about a highly skilled assassin who got a bump on the head and lost her memory and then Matt Damon made the Bourne Identity based on a really good novel about, (and you might need to brace yourself here if you're hard of thinking), a highly skilled assassin who lost his memory.

Now I hope I'm not going to spoil Unknown for you but I am a bit curious as to why someone felt it necessary to remake the Bourne Identity but did not feel the need to do such a good job. This is an OK thriller and has some good moments, Liam Neeson is fine for the role and it's always nice to see Frank Langella, don't know why, it just is. Although the film starts sluggishly and builds to a lumber the real issue is the story.

There are a heck of a lot of inconsistencies, where does he get the money from? Why don't the forces of evil spirit him away from the hospital while he's lying in a four-day coma, or just kill him, that's got to be easier than waiting for him to wake up? If they've been planning this for a year what's stopping the noble scientist from producing his results earlier, the baddies know about it, what's he waiting for?

Hang on, they spent a year planning a data heist that hinged upon a scientist agreeing to hang his laptop on a coat rack for 5 minutes? They've had a year, is that the best they could do? It just doesn't make sense.

Sadly for me this sense of not hanging together-ness is pervasive and un-ignorable, and of course, it prevented the suspension of disbelief necessary to enjoy the movie. It did feel like a tribute movie to the excellent Bourne films, and inevitably it failed to measure up, the characterisation was worse, the plot riddled with holes, the car chase good but not good enough.

In a thriller where you're supposed to feel for the central character you need scary villains, the baddies in this work were, however, not competent enough to be menacing, the master spy and his henchman dismissed by a poor bit of parking by the lady taxi driver, the villainess negated through a textbook bomb-disposal error, (hint - don't use the keypad, cut the red wire, or maybe the blue) the climax was rushed through and the final fight predictable and weak. Could we see our hero and heroine going off together, of course we could, we've seen the Bourne Identity.

I almost forget to craft a haiku

You could see this film
or re-watch Matt or Geena
and save the petrol


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