Formerly a NYPD detective, Matt Scudder (Liam Neeson) is a recovering alcoholic haunted by his past. He now works as an unlicensed private investigator who ‘does favours for people’.
Scudder is hired by Kenny Kristo (Dan Stevens) a drug kingpin to find out who kidnapped and murdered his wife. Little does Kristo know that he’s just set a cause of events in motion that cannot be stopped. Not even by the former detective.
He reluctantly allows a streetwise teen named TJ (Brian ‘Astro’ Bradley) to become his sidekick, and we see his softer side. It becomes all too clear that the kidnappers aren’t the only thing Scudder is searching for, he’s also seeking redemption.
I know what you’re thinking; the kidnapping and no-nonsense protagonist immediately suggests another Taken clone. Well, you’re right.
Liam Neeson shifts back into vigilante mode once again in this incredibly dull thriller. His famous telephone manner that we first saw in Taken reappears, and we see the troubled alcoholic from Non-Stop rear his weary head again.
For what it’s worth, I usually quite like Neeson on autopilot but his talent requires a good script which this movie lacks. It also doesn’t help that Neeson forgot that his character is American. His low growl of a voice switches from an Irish brogue to ”Was wonderin’ if I could tawk to ya?” in the space of one sentence.
I can only guess that Brian “Astro” Bradley, hot from YouTube and American X Factor, has been roped in to attract the youth market who will be excluded anyway by the 15-rated violence.
This pointlessly violent movie is consumed by darkness – a child has her fingers cut off, a killer cleans his tools of the trade is an OSD manner in his torture chamber and Downtown Abbey’s Dan Stevens grows a moustache. And what’s the point of all this nastiness? There is none. It seems reasoning goes out of the window when one serial killer is strangling the other with cheesewire.
This movie simply isn’t worth the ticket price. It’s over-long, unnecessarily gory and certainly not Neeson at his best.
By Ruth Walker