Contains minor spoiler
Unknown is what we will henceforth describe as the basic Liam Neeson thriller. A grainy, dark film set in an exotic foreign locale with car chases up the wazoo and a mano a mano resolution featuring lots of quick-cut martial arts. Convenient for us that Liam Neeson is also the star of Unknown. It's very similar to Neeson's Taken of two years ago, where a former spy tracks down his kidnapped daughter in Paris, causing untold physical and personal carnage. Here, an amnesiac summons his inner spy when his life and wife are stolen in Berlin, with untold physical and personal carnage.
Although I'm describing Unknown as a formula movie, it doesn't feel like one, and the presence of Liam Neeson means you automatically know who the good guy is. It runs about ten minutes too long but is a very serviceable thriller.
Here comes a minor rant
I watched the movie this morning and watched a little TV this afternoon. Wouldn't you know it, I saw a commercial for Unknown. Part of the plot revolves around stopping a bomb from detonating. The commercial, run during a prime-time TV show last Thursday, showed the bomb going off. I had not seen any commercials for the movie before seeing it and saw the in-theater preview maybe three times, most recently two weeks ago. The sequence with the explosion - very tense - worked. If the commercial or preview had been fresh in my mind, I wouldn't have cared - I would have known what was coming. Consider this yet another example of the movie's marketing department ruining the hard work of the creative department - you know, everybody who made the dang movie. Stop it.