I summarized the movie on Twitter as follows: It's like the "Bourne" movies only without the boring command center scenes. So basically you're left with the car chases and fights without a bunch of nerds and bureaucrats yelling at each other. I think that's an improvement. I mean, when you're doing a dumb action movie you might as well just get to the action and be done with it.
The plot of the movie is really simple. Brian Mills (Liam Neeson) was a former CIA agent who quit so he could be close to his 17-year-old daughter Kim, who is living with his ex-wife and wealthy stepfather. (One question I have is since when does the CIA hire foreign people for its agents? Shouldn't he have been in MI6 or something? Whatever.) Kim wants to go on a trip to Europe to follow U2 around. (Since she's 17 shouldn't it be Miley Cyrus or the Jonas Brothers? Whatever.)
Brian is reluctant to let her go, but gives in. Once she and her friend get to Paris, Kim meets a boy named Peter and they share a cab to where she's staying. Not long after that, hired goons show up at the apartment and kidnap both Kim and her friend. Kim is on the phone with Brian at the time, and he swears to come after her and kill those responsible, as you should know if you saw the previews/commercials where he says, "I will find you. And I will kill you." To which the other guy says, "Good luck."
From there the story is pretty simple. Brian flies to Paris, hunts down the Albanian goons and connects the dots to those holding Kim. Along the way he beats up, tortures, and kills anyone who gets in his way. Besides that he tampers with a crime scene, shoots the wife of a policeman, and steals numerous cars. Basically if this were real life he'd be doing the rest of his life in prison. Good thing this is a dumb action movie where that kind of collateral damage can be overlooked.
This is a dumb action movie, but it works well enough. Liam Neeson is probably one of three people who could pull this movie off. The other two are Harrison Ford in his younger days or maybe Bruce Willis. Basically you need someone who can seem like a concerned family man who you could also see being able to kick ass. It really wouldn't work with a Schwarzenegger or Stallone or even a Matt Damon.
The movie clocks in at like 85 minutes--and that was the "extended cut" so there's not much to it. (Maybe if you took all those command center scenes out of the Bourne movies they'd only be 85 minutes too.) How he finds all these people is so easy and disposing of them is even easier. It makes you wonder why the police couldn't find them. Maybe they could if anyone had bothered to call them. And if they weren't on the take.
Still, for an action movie with a little heart you could do a lot worse.
That is all.
(My score: 2.5 stars)
(Metacritic score: 50/100)