Retribution is a race against time.
Retribution, starring Liam Neeson, is a rollercoaster of tension and suspense that grips the audience from the beginning. Known for his iconic roles as the relentless action hero with a particular set of skills, Neeson continues the trend of his typecasted roles. He once again presents himself as an everyday man caught in an extraordinary predicament. While the film undoubtedly brings its share of nail-biting moments and an engaging premise, it does exhibit a flaw.
The movie draws audiences in with a simple yet highly effective concept. A successful businessman suddenly finds himself at the mercy of an unknown assailant who has planted a bomb in his car. What follows is a series of heart-pounding instructions that he must follow, all while his family is trapped with him in the car. Neeson’s portrayal of a desperate father trying to keep his family safe is convincing and emotionally charged, showcasing his ability to anchor the film’s tension.
Retribution bears a striking resemblance to the 1994 film “Speed,” which starred Keanu Reeves. Both movies revolve around a high-stakes situation involving vehicles rigged with explosives and the protagonists’ desperate attempts to comply with the assailant’s demands. The similarity is uncanny, yet Retribution tries to carve out its own identity. It emphasizes the family dynamic more heavily to stand apart. This film is a remake of the 2015 Spanish film, which was publicly compared to the 1994 film.
This film offers an escalating series of tasks that keep viewers on the edge of their seats and themes that touch upon greed and morality. As Neeson’s character hurtles through the city, the tension rises, and the audience becomes invested in his plight, making the 90-minute runtime feel like a whirlwind.
However, Retribution has its drawbacks.
The slow build-up to the central conflict might test the patience of some viewers, and at times, the film falls into generic territory. Neeson’s involvement also prompts audiences to draw parallels with his previous action-packed roles, raising whether it’s time for him to explore new avenues. Despite these flaws, the film’s high-stakes premise and Neeson’s dedicated performance keep the audience engaged.
I give Retribution 2.5 out of 5 stars. It takes the familiar formula of an ordinary person caught in an extraordinary situation and tries to make it stand out by centering around family. Neeson’s recurring typecasted portrayals might warrant consideration for retirement. Nonetheless, there are moments when it manages to provide an engaging experience that inevitably invites comparisons to “Speed.”