Despite it's ridiculously contrived plot, I found myself sucked into the predicament and could even begin to understand why most of the characters did what they did and said what they said. It effectively built tension and it had that "what would I be doing in that situation?" thing going on. It had me thinking. Me! Thinking! Then it lost me with its supernatural slash horror slash slasher final act that, looking back, was kind of portended, yet still felt like it came out of nowhere, not belonging with the rest of the movie. Shame.
1 cup Ben Stiller (plain or regular)
1 cup Eddie Murphy (100% Norbit free)
1 ½ tablespoons Matthew Broderick (check the best-before date)
1 teaspoon Alan Alda (get the evil whole stuff, not the mash)
1 bunch of Generic Supporting Cast (the more eclectic the better)
1 heaped cup Generic Heist Plot Line (use an old The Italian Job if you've nothing better lying around)
100g Skyscraper Set Piece Action (with extra rope dangling)
1. Just add water and kind of mush everything together.
Serves Fewer than the movie execs hoped.
This review may contain spoilers. I can handle the truth.
Ah, so now I know what happens when you try to cross Bourne and Taken without sufficient character depth. Effective enough at what it is, but what it is isn't much: Liam Neeson spends most of this movie forgetting he can kick arse, but then he remembers and kicks arse.
What really gets me is the town in the middle of nowhere full of shops and cafés with wi-fi and nightclubs and a superbly equipped hospital and its own little traffic light on its solitary four-way intersection and NO HOUSES. It loses a little when the sole grounding in our world is so fake, especially when we're supposed to care for an artificial invincible video-game Valhalla. Earnest performances and a solid, basic and predictable plot can't make it more than a yeah but nah but yeah but nah. But yeah. But...nyah.
Sure, it has big boots to fill, but it is too limited; it doesn't get close to its illustrious predecessor:
(1) The villain (um, name?): one-dimensional bore. [cf Bellosh...er...Belloq, and, um, the fucking NAZIS]
(2) The heroine (Willie? Really?): very, very, very annoying. [cf Marion Ravenwood]
(3) The sidekick (Short Round): juvenile, very annoying. [cf Sallah]
(4) The MacGuffin (stones? rocks?): plain uninteresting. [cf The Ark of the goddamn Covenent]
The one thing it does have? Indiana Jones.