Liam Neeson is on autopilot in the car-bomb action thriller “Retribution.”


This thriller about bomb disposal typically provides entertaining, cheesy content. However, it lacks originality and the acting is unexciting, making it a formulaic remake of the 2015 Spanish film El Desconocido (The Stranger) starring Luis Tosar. The plot heavily borrows from popular Hollywood films such as Speed and Phone Booth. The inclusion of Liam Neeson in this new adaptation seems to be a strategic move to attract fans of his Taken franchise.

Neeson portrays Matt Turner, a financial trader living in a lavish home in Berlin. He is overworked and concerned about his risky investment advice causing clients to become angry. However, he is oblivious to the fact that his marriage is falling apart due to his neglect. One morning, his wife Heather (Embeth Davidtz) asks him to take their children to school while on the way to an important meeting. As they drive, a mysterious phone placed by an unseen person begins ringing, causing confusion. A distorted voice threatens Matt, saying that a bomb under his seat will explode if he leaves the car.

There are a few indulgent thrills available, but they are overshadowed by Liam Neeson’s unengaging and robotic performance. We know he is capable of more, but in this movie, he seems to be coasting. The plot also stretches believability and casually tosses around claims about the accessibility of services on the “dark web.” It would be refreshing to see a film, whether based on fact or fiction, accurately depict what can and cannot be obtained on the “dark web.” Overall, this film is a disappointment rather than a triumph.


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