Austin Burke’s review published on Letterboxd:
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A bank executive receives a bomb threat while driving his children to school that his car will explode if they stop and get out.
Liam Neeson just doesn’t stop Liam Neeson-ing, and while the world was a better place because of that ten years ago, it feels like it’s time to call it quits. Retribution isn’t a tragically bad film from start to finish; the experience has its moments, but it is inevitably a painfully bland and familiar experience. This has the aspirations of Speed, but it feels more on line with Cellular. The problem is that Retribution didn’t come out ten or twenty years ago, and it feels like this type of movie has to add some sort of twist or spin to resonate. Admittedly, it gets off to a solid start. Neeson is trying his hardest at the beginning to not make it feel like just a paycheck, but as the film progresses, his interest in the experience seems to dwindle. Constricting these characters to (mostly) one location is an interesting move on its surface, and the lack of fist-fighting isn’t the issue here. It just feels as if the script did not know where to take this story after the first act.
Almost every single thing that happens takes too long or has no emotion to latch onto. Everyone involved, other than the kids who are trying, is just there. Even Matthew Modine is mediocre here, and that is hard to do. Give me a ridiculous Neeson film all day, but make it interesting. It feels as if they haven’t had any juice lately, and these scripts are just manufactured combinations of other (better) projects. Why get Nimród Antal as our director and not allow him to add any style to it? The second and third acts are boring, and the fact that I had absolutely no motivation to record a review for it tells you how forgettable it already is. It also tricks you into believing it could be something fun in the beginning but completely fails to capitalize on that. Hopefully Liam won’t sleep walk through the next one, and hopefully it won’t make me as sleepy as Retribution did.
🔜You Are So Not Invited to My Bat Mitzvah