Whereas the first film was steadfastly focused on rescue-revenge, “Unknown” is all about the unfocused — namely, Neeson’s character, biologist/ botanist Dr. Martin Harris, who takes a trip into the Twilight Zone.
On his way to a conference in Berlin, he suddenly loses his bag and his mind after an accident where his cab drives off a bridge and into a river. Waking up four days later, he rushes to his hotel to find someone else (Aidan Quinn) has claimed his identity and his beautiful blond wife, Elizabeth (January Jones of TV’s “Mad Men”).
His only tenuous link to the past is another beautiful blond, cabdriver Gina (Diane Kruger), who remembers saving his life from her sinking vehicle. However, by hooking up with the mysterious fare, Gina is putting herself in the line of fire, because a meanlooking thug is out to kill him.
Convolution continues, involving an ex-Nazi, former Stasi agent (Bruno Ganz) and a suspicious American professor (Frank Langella). There’s also a book with a secret code, which seems sort of familiar to our confused hero. Along the way, we are treated to spectacular urban car chases, where everyone drives like an Indianapolis- 500 pro.
Under the direction of Jaume Collet- Serra (“Orphan”), “Unknown” is based on a French novel by Didier van Caulwelaert, with the English title, “Out of My Head.”
“Taken” fans will go out of theirs, trying to make sense of this muddled mess. Neeson would do better to do “Taken II.”