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Unknown

a film by Jaume Collet-Serra

Just in case you were not yet tired of Liam Neeson, trapped inside some overly-convoluted plot, angrily trying to rescue one loved one or another, only to have the most obvious of twists pop up in the final act, then hold on to your hats, because here comes another one. Blandly titled Unknown, this pseudo-espionage thriller is actually not all that bad. Neeson is capable as always (though stuck with yet another inferior script, well below his talents) and January Jones is, well, she is January Jones and that is more than enough, but it is the lovely and talented Diane Kruger who makes the film as enjoyable is it is. It is she, and not Neeson (or even the gorgeous - and unfortunately underused - January Jones), who should rightfully be the star of this movie. This is probably the reason the rest of this review will subsist of one's thoughts on Ms. Kruger in place of any attempt at summarizing the silly plot that wriggles about around her.

With help from a certain QT, the German-born Kruger graduated from playing second fiddle history-saviour to Nic Cage and muse to Brad Pitt and Orlando Bloom (though I am sure her face could indeed launch a thousand ships as it more than metaphorically did as Helen of Troy) to full-throttle action heroine as the Nazi-hating double agent Bridget von Hammersmark in Inglourious Basterds. Here, her choice of material goes decidedly down but her action hero status remains intact - even if her character's driving skills come up a bit lacking. Granted, the film is still rather tired and predictable even with Ms. Kruger in the proverbial passenger seat, but she is at least worth a portion of the ticket price that is otherwise wasted on any hope of a reasonable storyline or sense of directorial direction, or any vaulted aspirations of seeing something akin to the Jason Bourne movies - no matter how superficially the storyline here tries (and fails) to be exactly that. [02/24/11]

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