Release Date: 08/25/23 [Cinemas]
Genre: Action. Crime. Drama.
"A bank executive receives a bomb threat while driving his children to school that his car will explode if they stop and get out."
OUR MOVIE REVIEW:
Retribution has a tidy one hour and thirty-one minute runtime. And honestly we were thankful it wasn’t any longer than that because it suffers from an underdeveloped, formulaic script and an underwhelming performance from star Liam Neeson.
Matt (Liam Neeson) is a work-obsessed investment banker who doesn’t seem to have much of a relationship with his wife Heather (Embeth Davidtz) or his kids Zach (Jack Champion) and Emily (Lilly Aspell). One morning he is tasked with taking his kids to school and grumbles that he has an important call with a client and shouldn’t have to be bothered with being a father. His call with the client goes well and although it's clear his kids aren’t big fans of him, it all seems to be going smoothly. Until a ringer goes off and Matt finds a mysterious cellphone in the seat next to him.
On the other end of the call is a computer altered voice telling him that there is a bomb under his seat that’s controlled by pressure points and that if Matt or his kids exit the vehicle the bomb will go off. What should be a high pressure, suspenseful thriller in the same vein as Speed (1994), fails to ignite anything other than an intense desire to stop watching the movie altogether. There isn’t enough character development to care whether the three passengers actually blow up and even the moments that could elicit some sort of emotional reaction feel hokey and meaningless.
Since 2008’s Taken (a pop culture favorite and a surprisingly gripping movie), Neeson has done a hodge-podge of action movies, but this might be his worst. Most of his line delivery is cringey and stilted. We all know he can actually put in a moving performance (just look at his filmography) which makes this one all the more difficult to watch. And director Nimród Antal doesn’t help matters with action sequences and car chase scenes that are so bland and predictable, we wonder if he knew the script wasn’t worthy of his full efforts.
Retribution is a lackluster movie all around and if there was a shining moment that might have been able to redeem it, we couldn’t find it. We know Neeson has a particular set of skills, we just wish he’d get a decent vehicle to showcase them again.