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Unknown (Blu-ray Review)

Liam Neeson, one of the most likable human beings in Hollywood, is back in the thriller-adventure known as…Unknown. *snare*  Unknown stars Liam Neeson, January Jones, Diane Kruger, Aidan Quinn along with Bruno Ganz, and Frank Langella.  Off the heels of the action packed Taken feature (which I loved) Unknown was set to keep Neeson going as the badass taking out the trash.  Did Unknown succeed in that department?  Continue reading to find out.  Oh, and Unknown was shot in Germany.  Das ist gut!  Unknown will be released on Blu-ray June 21st, 2011.  This is another early review.   Enjoy! 

Film 

Unknown is the story of Dr. Martin Harris (Liam Neeson) who is a botanist and is in Germany to speak at a conference at a prestigious hotel in Berlin.  After he forgets a suitcase at the airport he hails a taxi, but is soon involved in a horrible car accident that renders him comatose.  After waking up several days later and suffering from amnesia Martin tries to piece together some of the events that lead up to his current predicament.

He figures out which hotel he was staying in and once he arrives aims to reacquaint himself with his wife played by January Jones.  It goes from bad to even worst when she says that she doesn’t know who he is and that she is already married to a Dr. Martin Harris (Aidan Quinn).

Soon, “Martin” is kicked out on the street and must begin the long quest to find out who he really is.  On the surface Unknown is a great film, but when you actually sit back and watch it you are blindsided by the fact that Unknown is really nothing like the advertisements have led you to believe.  I missed this in theaters, but when I saw the trailers and promotional materials, I was led to believe that Unknown was the second coming of Jason Bourne or a junior version of Taken. Wrong!

Unknown is a mystery thriller for the most part.  Liam Neeson must find out who he is before the bad guys find and kill him.  There is more to this than meets the eye, but you will have to figure it out on your own.  The acting is solid, but the real star of the show is lovely Germany.  Shot on location in Berlin, I am tempted to book a flight and get myself over there.  Neeson is great as usual, January Jones is not.  She has the ability to suck away all of the charisma in the room whenever she is present.  Bruno Ganz and Frank Langella make appearance and Ganz is pretty spectacular in his role.  Diane Kruger is also pretty cool in her role, but for the life of me can’t figure out why her chracter is from Eastern Europe.  She’s a native German, so it would not have mattered either way.

For those that are expecting this to be non-stop action you’re in for disappointment.  It’s not that kind of film, but does work as a cool little mystery thriller which is why my film review gets split in half.  Directed by Jaume Collet-Serra (House of Wax, Orphan) Unknown is a somewhat valid entry into the drama genre, just don’t expect Neeson going Jason Bourne on you at every turn.  Sigh.

 

Video 

Unknown is presented in 1080p 2.35:1 widescreen.  This is a very nice presentation.  It’s very cold and snowy in Germany, so contrast levels are prime and not blown out like they normally would be due to environmental conditions.  Black levels are consistent as are grain levels. Colors are muted for the most part, but do change according to what scenes are taking place.  Interiors usually benefit from the stronger color palette, but outdoor scenes in the snow remain cold and dreary in a good way.  Overall Unknown looks great.

Audio 

Unknown is presented in DTS-HD MA 5.1.  What an almost demo worthy audio presentation this was!  From the opening scenes of the car accident to the music at the club, it is an extremely great sonic experience.  Dialogue is crystal clear, the surround sound channels do their job in recreating a life-like three dimensional experience. The LFE channel bumps nicely.  There are a couple of cool explosions thrown in to boot and those scenes highlight the lossless mix on this Blu-ray.

Special Features  

My  turn to post the goose that lays a rotten egg.  The special features are non-existent with the exception of a making-of self congratulatory featurette on what went on during the making of the film.

  • Liam Neeson: Known Action Hero
  • Unknown: What is Known?

 

Final Thoughts 

Badly marketed as an action adventure romp, Unknown is a mystery thriller with very little traditional action thrown into the mix.  The Blu-ray features great video and a stellar audio track.  The special features are almost non-existent.  Unknown is for true hardcore Liam Neeson fans only as those coming in with Taken or Bourne expectations will be severely let down.

 

 

Order Unknown on Blu-ray!

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Gerard Iribe is a writer/reviewer for Why So Blu?. He has also reviewed for other sites like DVD Talk, Project-Blu, and CHUD, but Why So Blu? is where the heart is. You can follow his incoherency on Twitter: @giribe

5 Responses to “Unknown (Blu-ray Review)”


  1. Aaron Neuwirth

    January Jones hasn’t done herself any favors when it comes to acting in movies so far this year.

  2. Gerard Iribe

    She’s the one reason that’s keeping me away from the theater to see X-Men.

  3. Sean Ferguson

    She’s definitely the weak link in X-Men. It’s basically Betty Draper (who I despise) with powers. She’s a one note actress. I do want to see this movie though! Neeson is so good he can compensate for her.

  4. Gerard Iribe

    Yep. I hate Betty Draper as well.

  5. Brian White

    This was the first film I saw this year theatrically that I liked. It must be because it’s produced by Dark Castle! 🙂