Unknown Blu-ray Review
Well Unknown certainly looks great, coming to Region Free US Blu-ray with an excellent 1080p High Definition video rendition, presented in the movie’s original theatrical aspect ratio of 2.4:1 widescreen. Detail is superb throughout, the image never faltering or betraying any residual softness – and yet there isn’t a glimmer of edge enhancement to be noted. Whether interiors or exteriors, daytime or night-time sequences, the shots – both long and close-up – are pristine in terms of clarity. The colour scheme is definitely skewed towards that green/blue hue (maybe Peter Jackson’s been tinkering with it?!) that seems prevalent in this sort of thriller, but skin tones remain remarkably life-like, and there are a few vivid beats that break up the bleak palette, not least the nightclub sequence which boasts rich reds and warm oranges. Black levels are strong, and there’s no bleeding, nor signs of any other digital defects whatsoever. A little more depth and 3D pop, and a marginally less clinical palette would have left this a perfect-10. As is, however, it’s pretty damn close.
On the aural front we get an equally impressive DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 track which pushes all of the right buttons at all the right times. Dialogue comes across clearly and coherently throughout, from the whispers and murmurs to the shouts and screams, largely emanating from across the fronts and centre channels. Effects are myriad, but certainly not as bombastic as you might expect – although that’s more to do with the material than anything else, which offers up more shock moments rather than action segments. In terms of their representation here, however, there’s great surround action, with acute observation of everything from the background hubbub in a party to the crash-bang-wallop of a massive car crash. The score tries its best to help you feel that the film is yet more action-packed than it really is, but, in purely aural terms, this does give the surrounds yet more to do; and with some hefty LFE action rounding out the proceedings, this is a weighty but surprisingly well-nuanced audio accompaniment for the main feature.
There’s very little here in the way of extra features – just two tiny, insignificant, and ultimately throwaway Featurettes – Liam Neeson: Known Action Hero and Unknown: What is Known? Running at little more than a couple of minutes each, they don’t even deserve to be called extended trailers, with EPK written all over them there really is no reason to spare them your time. That said, given the fact that this isn’t the kind of movie which is going to warrant any kind of double-dip, I guess we should be grateful that the discs isn’t entirely bare-bones.
Unknown takes a clever premise and ultimately squanders it by going down an unpredictable but also thoroughly improbable route which mocks not only the cast and crew involved but also moviegoers who pay to see this flick. Liam Neeson rides on the coat-tails of his action-thriller success with Taken, but the marketing is all wrong, leading you to believe that this is just more of the same - and it really isn't. With the pacing of the 80s Harrison Ford thriller Frantic, and hints of everything from that movie to Total Recall to the Bourne trilogy and, of course, Taken itself thrown into the mix, the end result just doesn't make much sense, and is deeply unsatisfactory.
On Region Free US Blu-ray we do, however, get excellent video and audio (though a pitiful selection of extras) so fans of the film should have no hesitation in picking this one up. Unfortunately those who like any of the aforementioned movies - even Frantic - should strongly reconsider purchasing this flick, as it offers an unholy mish-mash between the lot of them, and ends up just not making any sense. Rent it if you're curious, but don't expect much.
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