| Oscar nominee Liam Neeson ("Schindler's List") is back in action hoping to duplicate the box office success of "Taken."
This espionage thriller opens with Dr. Martin Harris (Neeson), a botanist professor from New Hampshire, sitting on an airplane with his beautiful Barbie Doll wife, Liz (January Jones from "Mad Men"). They are traveling to Berlin, where Martin will present his thesis at a global biotech summit.
After going through customs upon arrival, the couple takes a taxi to the hotel. While Liz is checking in at the front desk, Martin realizes he left his briefcase at the airport. He hails a cab driven by Gina (Diane Kruger from "Inglourious Basterds" and "National Treasure"), an illegal Bosnian immigrant. A freak accident sends the vehicle crashing through a bridge and into the river. Gina saves Martin's life with a daring underwater rescue.
Martin awakes from a coma four days later with temporary amnesia. He has vivid flashbacks of his past. He rushes to the hotel, where he confronts Liz during a reception in the presence of a hotel security officer. She claims she doesn't know him and introduces another man (Aidan Quinn from "Legends of the Fall" and "The Eclipse") as her husband.
A confused and paranoid Martin wanders aimlessly through the streets of Berlin. He seeks the help of private detective Ernst Jurgen (Bruno Ganz from "The Reader" and "Downfall"), a former member of the East German secret police. Jurgen takes this supposed case of identity theft out of sheer curiosity.
Martin also reconnects with Gina. She is reluctant to get involved in this mystery, but becomes Martin's ally after her life is threatened.
The movie tries hard to paint Martin in a positive light. Several exciting car chases have him riding or driving a white car while the pursuers are in a black vehicle.
A twist takes the movie completely off the rails with the cameo appearance of Rodney Cole (Frank Langella from "Wall Street: Money Never Sleeps" and "Frost/Nixon"), a creepy colleague of Martin's who knows everything.
Martin flips the switch into tough guy mode and leaves a trail of bodies in his wake.
Neeson is hamstrung with a thin script full of huge plot holes that stretch credibility. His character is a mix of an older Jason Bourne and the male equivalent of Angelina Jolie's Evelyn Salt. Jones and Kruger are simply window dressing.
This ludicrous fantasy should have gone straight to DVD, belonging on the same shelf as the equally disappointing "The Tourist."
Keith Cohen "The Movie Guy"