By the time Liam Neeson growls, "I didn't forget everything! I remember how to kill you, asshole!," Unknown has borrowed from so many other action thrillers—The Bourne Identity, Frantic, and Neeson's own Taken—that my mind was spinning like a dreidel. That said, Unknown is reasonably entertaining (though it doesn't reach the propulsive heights of Taken), and it's kind of fun watching the classically trained Neeson continue to blossom into an action star. (Let's hope he doesn't turn into a lunatic.)
After the movie, my mom and I bumped into my father, who had been at the same theater we were at. My dad—unable to speak since his stroke many years ago—gave a big, smiley thumbs up, and we agreed with him. Yup, Unknown is, apparently, a fine family film—though probably the first one in which a guy gets stabbed in the neck with a shard of glass.
I Am Number Four, adapted from a young-adult sci-fi novel that came out of James Frey's literary sweatshop, also borrows from the ghosts of films past—Superman, Twilight, X-Men, Terminator, Spider-Man, X-Files, will somebody stop me, I'm exhausted. And as much as every intelligent bone in my body wanted to dislike this movie (I really wanted to type the words, "I want to go Number Two on I Am Number Four), I couldn't resist its charms—nifty action sequences, cool special effects, and a good sense of pacing. Sure, some of the acting's questionable, but it's not anywhere close to the Master Classes in Bad Acting that are the Twilight movies.
On my Twitter page, I wrote: "The audience for I Am Number Four was made up of tween girls and me. How did I fall into this demographic? AND HOW THE HELL DO I GET OUT?!" I was being coy, of course. Doesn't the fact that the film's star, Alex Pettyfer, can't seem to keep his shirt on for long explain everything? (Skip ahead to the 2:50 mark:)
Finally, The Mechanic borrows from, well, The Mechanic. Charles Bronson starred in the 1972 thriller, and Jason Statham stars in the new one. Meh. Liam Neeson could so kick both their asses, assholes.