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"Retribution" Review

 Oh look, it's AARP action hero Liam Neeson in another thriller where he probably growls most of the time. This time it's something called Retribution that the missus wanted to watch, so let's see what this is about.

It opens with a literal bang as a car explodes on the road. We then meet Neeson's Matt Turner, a financier in Berlin as he's hitting a punching bag to show he's a kickass senior citizen. He gets a call from his partner Anders (Matthew Modine, whose photo is in every dictionary next to "punchable face") asking Matt to call a skittish client about losses his account is taking.

Distracted by this task, his annoyed wife Heather (Embeth Davidtz, who sounds like a character from Dune) asks him to take their squabbling bratty children - Zach (Jack Champion, Tarzan Boy from Avatar 2) and Emily (Lilly Aspell) - to school. He reluctantly accedes and off they go. After making his business call to calm the client, a phone starts ringing. It's not his or the kids, but a bashed up burner phone stashed in his glove box.

Answering it, he's greeted by a menacing disguised voice telling him there's a bomb under his seat with a pressure plate that will detonate it if he or the kids leave the car with a cell phone backup trigger. The voice is accusing him of malfeasance while Matt pleads for his children's lives. Directed to go from place to place, the cops rapidly believe Matt is the bomber and pursue him.

 As premises go, it's a tad familiar and frankly, I guessed who the villain was immediately because it was both so random and so obvious. Director Nimrod Antal (Predators) working from a script that is the 3rd remake of a Spanish film does an adequate job keeping things tense, but there are a few too many leaps in logic with the omniscient mastermind both seeming to know what's going on and the cops being patronizingly stupid.

At a short hour-and-a-half, this would fall into the "mindless fluff to watch on cable on a rainy Saturday" category, but while competently executed, it's just too insubstantial to wholly recommend.

Score: 5/10. Skip it.


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