Retribution Review – IGN

Retribution premieres in theaters August 25.

Planes, Trains, and Automobiles: Liam Neeson’s Unstoppable Pursuit of Justice

Is there any mode of transportation that Liam Neeson can’t commandeer for one of his signature exercises in AARP ass-kicking? From snow plows to luxury cars, Neeson has proven time and time again that he’s a force to be reckoned with on the big screen. In his latest film, Retribution, Neeson’s jurisdiction shrinks to the driver’s seat of a Mercedes, delivering a thin yet suspenseful dose of post-Taken action.

In Retribution, Neeson plays the role of Matt Turner, a hedge-fund guy stuck in a harrowing situation. Trapped inside his car, there’s a bomb rigged to explode if he attempts to escape. With his children in the backseat and the mysterious culprit on the phone, Matt must navigate a high-stakes game of cat and mouse. As a workaholic who’s neglected his family, Matt must rise to the occasion and protect his loved ones with every ounce of his Liam Neeson-style action prowess.

Retribution, like Neeson’s previous films Memory and Cold Pursuit, takes inspiration from a European B-movie, specifically the 2015 Spanish thriller with the same title. Directed by Nimród Antal, known for his work on films like Vacancy, Armored, and Predators, Retribution capitalizes on the real-time, single-vehicle scenario, keeping audiences on edge as Neeson masterfully delivers tense phone conversations and concerned glances in the rearview mirror.

While Retribution may draw comparisons to Speed, the film breaks its own rules for convenient storytelling. Questions arise about the kids’ involvement and Matt’s ability to seek help from the police. The villain’s overall plan seems flawed when he allows the hero to ignore phone calls without consequence. The suspense peaks early on when Matt must carefully handle his children’s smartphones while concealing the truth of their dire situation.

As the story unfolds, it becomes clear that Matt is paying for past mistakes, but the identity of the person on the other end of the line is disappointingly predictable. Retribution fails to fully explore the idea of Matt being a victim of his own choices, resulting in a lackluster resolution. In fact, the film’s title itself is somewhat misleading, adding to the overall generic nature of the thriller.

The thrills are set to cruise control, even if Neeson never is.

Despite its shortcomings, Liam Neeson’s presence keeps Retribution afloat. His seasoned acting skills and unwavering commitment to his roles elevate the film’s otherwise predictable plot. Through close-ups captured in the car’s windshield or in mirrors, Neeson’s intensity shines through, providing a captivating experience for the audience. However, the lack of genuine danger and suspense prevents Retribution from reaching its full potential. The thrills may be present, but they’re set to cruise control, even if Neeson never is.