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Unknown (Blu-ray/DVD Combo + Digital Copy)
Movie Reviews

Unknown (Blu-ray/DVD Combo + Digital Copy)

An intelligently made thriller packed with great performances that shines on Blu-ray, despite the lack of compelling special-features.

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Unknown follows Liam Neeson as Dr. Martin Harris, a happily married man that visits Germany with his wife to attend a biological technology show. When he tries to return to the airport after discovering he left a suitcase there, he suffers a bad car accident in which he loses his memory. After waking up from four days in a coma, he tries to piece his life back together by returning to the hotel where his wife is staying. When he confronts her, she acts like she never knew him, which makes things hard for Martin to prove who he is on top of his memory loss and missing passport. This leads to the grand adventure of him trying to make sense out of everything while trying to avoid assassins out to kill him for unknown reasons (pun intended).

While it’s not quite as action packed as Liam Neeson’s other well known movie Taken, I thought Unknown was well-made and packed with more than enough thrills to keep you on the edge of seat as it goes from one suspenseful scene to the next. Not surprisingly, I’m in full agreement with fellow editor Chris Pandolfi, who liked what he saw in theaters back in February (check out his full review right HERE):

“What surprised me about this film was that I was made to care about the characters. Harris is determined and ruthless, but he also earns our sympathy; we want to get to the truth just as badly as he does. When we do finally get to the truth, we actually want to stick with him, for he devises a new plan of action, one that inevitably becomes an exciting race against the clock. Gina is perhaps standard as the female sidekick, although the filmmakers wisely avoided involving her in a romantic subplot. This in turn allowed for a more developed character, and while she may not be relatable to everyone, she never once fails to hold our interest. The word “chemistry” is thrown around all too often in movie reviews, but the simple fact is that Kruger and Neeson are a natural fit here. So too are Neeson and Jones – although their characters share something entirely different.”

The picture and sound are great, as both really pull you into the film. The visuals are crisp and clean, while the audio is just like the video, featuring full 5.1 DTS HD Master Audio, which really makes for a fantastic ride as Neeson’s character avoids bullets, cars, and everything else that gets in his way. The real thing that’s truly unknown on this disc is where did all the special features go, as it only includes two featurettes. One is “Liam Neeson: Known Action Hero”, which is a five-minute feature that gives some insight at Liam Neeson as his Dr. Martin Harris character, and features interviews from the actors, director and producer. Then there’s the “Unknown: What Is Known?” feature that gives an overall look at the plot and characters of the film by featuring short interviews with the actors, director, and producers.

Unknown is pretty good entertainment for what it is, especially if you love mysteries and nail-biting suspense, or just want to see Liam Neeson back in action-mode once again. It can drag at times, and while the action is nowhere as impactful as the superior – and strikingly familiar – Taken, those willing to give it a chance and let its mysteries unfold will be rewarded with a well played and thoughtful thriller that’s worth the investment. While the Blu-ray release is certainly razor sharp and features stunning 5.1 DTS surround sound, it’s a shame that most of the special-features aren’t really that special, and you might find their absence here the biggest mystery of all. Still, despite these flaws, Unknown is one of the better action and suspense films to hit Blu-ray this year and one that most people will probably enjoy.

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06/21/2011

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PG-13

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Warner Bros. Pictures

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About the Author: Chris Mitchell