This Liam Neeson as lead in an action movie business works about as well as you might hope – he certainly handles himself well in the various sequences which themselves owe a lot to the recent Jason Bourne trilogy, and perhaps a hat-tip to The Transporter as well.
It was a review by Mark Kermode that persuaded me to watch this: he tore shreds from it, and left with the question “who’s driving the boat?” which is – granted – something of a plot hole in a film that honestly doesn’t bear much close inspection.
The underlying topic area of human trafficking, itself deserving more publicity, awareness, and – dare I say – to be brought to an end is really just the vehicle for an action movie in the same way that the cold war or apartheid were in films of previous decades: though there are a couple of scenes that touch on this, the issue is never properly discussed.
The film also carries the message that it’s not possible to be an honest worker and a successful family man with kids: the loving father in the film (himself deeply flawed) traded time with family for being an honest worker: other fathers in the film have much darker character flaws.
If you’re looking for an action film in the vein of Payback, though with a slight underlying purpose, with weak characterisation, laughable dialogue, that ticks the majority of the action boxes, then this will amply suit. Perhaps it’s my dark sense of humour, but the line “apologise to your wife for me” brought for me the biggest laugh in the film.