Viewed – 26 Feb 2009 Blu-ray
It’s that rare breed, a film that seems to completely surprise you and take your breath away. Only a few such films have made me punch the air in such a way, namely Fight Club, Pulp Fiction, Switchblade Romance etc – when everything comes together and it all just works. This is one such film, and I’ll warn you, this is a very gushy review.
Liam Neeson plays an ex-CIA spy craving quality time with his daughter who he has mostly missed growing up because of his work, causing his marriage to Famke Janssen to fail as a result (shame). Then when the daughter gets the chance to go to Paris on holiday with a friend, Liam is naturally a little cautious, but chooses to give in for the sake of getting closer to the family he has become estranged from. Then on Paris trip, daughter is kidnapped, and Liam has to spring into action to save her from disappearing forever. Using all his ex-spy training he must find who is responsible and make them pay – usually very violently. Now what makes this so good, is that Liam Neeson plays such an assured, hard-as-nails part that he out Bonds even Daniel Craig in the chiselled out of granite factor, as he takes on seedy gangsters and small time criminals to get answers … breaking faces, cracking skulls and shooting a lot of bad people.
Add to this the harrowing reality of human trafficking and the real-life stories we hear every day of people going missing, this is both a high-octane action movie and a thought provoking reflection of our own messed up world. With producer Luc Besson also writing this he lends no end of class to the style and the action, whilst at the same time making it look and feel totally real. Some may find this disturbing, as so they should, but few should disagree that this is one of the best action thrillers in years.
On Blu-ray this is pristine looking with plenty of fine detail, helped greatly by the lush Paris locations. The DTS Master Audio is also very effective, with plenty of effects, especially during the shoot-outs and car chases. Extras-wise we get behind the scenes footage, a making of and a bonus view segment that gives you a counter, tracking every person Liam injures or klls during the movie. Pointless but fun. So, not packed, but an admirable effort for such a quality movie.
Verdict: 5 /5