I first saw the trailer for this late last year. I wasn’t really taken with this, it seemed kind of unoriginal and like typical Liam Neeson fare, but not good Liam Neeson, bland Neeson. After seeing it I can confirm it is pretty standard. Liam Neeson plays a recently fired insurance agent who used to a cop but is now gun shy after years of dealing with gangs of New York. He has a lot of debts so is understandably not in high spirits when he gets the news he’s fired. He’s worried about how he will pay them all off, he’s used to being the big man for his family. He is approached by an unknown woman (played by Vera Farmiga from The Conjuring movies) asking him to plant a tracking device on a random person, but not telling him who, offering him a lot of money to do so. He finds this a bit suspect but then discovers that it’s genuine and he really is going to get a lot of money. He’s sworn to silence can’t tell anybody about the mission or bad things will happen. At first, he doesn’t believe them and he tells someone he knows. But then he watches him leave the train and suddenly the other man is killed. It turns out he is being watched by someone to make sure he does what he should, and if he doesn’t people get killed by some kind of phantom menace. He starts to realise his family is in danger when a monster calls his phone and threatens him, saying they’re going to take his family from outside their home. In the end it turns out his friend who’s still in the police is responsible for it. OMG who could have guessed that? Apart from everybody who has ever seen a film and knows something about storytelling, or anybody who saw the trailer where one of the final scenes was shown (seriously guys, stop doing this. What’s the point of attempting tension in your movies if every third person already knows how it ends due to the trailer?). The police think he’s responsible for all the deaths throughout the film and is holding everyone hostage, so he now also has to clear his name whilst he’s under suspicion. But luckily the truth comes shining through and it’s all happiness and joy from that moment on (apart from maybe for the dead people).
The fight scenes were okay. They didn’t play Neeson of as some invincible badass, instead, they showed him as kind of old, and dependent on his experience and knowledge. One thing that does let them down is the incredibly ropey CGI. It looks like the kind of thing you get on a PlayStation 2 game. One scene, in particular, features him taking a leap of faith and jumping from a moving train in a scene that looks so bad it’s hard to decide whether to respond with laughter or silence. In a year which the dead pool sequel is coming out, cinema has to be more inventive. Either that or you need non-stop action that never relents,
Yes, I am well aware this was not the easiest blog to read. That this was just one idea run into the ground, and not even an original one. But if this film can’t be bothered to come up with anything original, I don’t see why I should.