Directed by Simon Brand.
Written by Matthew Waynee.
Starring Jim Caviezel, Barry Pepper, Greg Kinnear, and Joe
Release Year: 2006
Review Date: 12/20/06
The premise of "Unknown" got me into the
theater: five guys wake up in an abandoned warehouse in various
states of pain, with no idea of who they are or how they got there.
Unfortunately, the rest of "Unknown" doesn't deliver on the initial
promise, and then we get an ending that flat-out sucked.
One guy (Jim Caviezel) wakes up first; we
don't know his name (or anybody's, at first) with a jean jacket on.
The next guy who wakes up is tied to a chair (Joe Pantoliano, from
"The Matrix" and
"Memento"). The next, he's just woozy (Barry Pepper); the
next, a guy with a broken nose (Greg Kinnear). The last guy is
dangling from a walkway by a pair of handcuffs (Jeremy Sisto), with
a bad gunshot wound to the chest. As the five guys come to
their senses, we learn just vague bits about why they are in this
warehouse: two of the five guys have been kidnapped, and three of
the five are kidnappers who are supposed to be watching the two
hostages until their boss (Peter Stormare) returns from a cash
collection operation. The question is, who are the hostages?
Unfortunately, at this point, the film
completely goes to shit. In a classic situation where our main
stars have sucked up all of the budget's acting funds, the
supporting actors in "Unknown" don't just suck, they REALLY suck;
we're talking community-play-bad performances. How do we
figure out who's really a kidnapper? All five men have these
very random flashbacks that conveniently time out to make sure
nobody knows who's who until it's too late; somehow, the men were
out for two days due to some kind of nitrous oxide poisoning, which
"almost" kills them all. There's a subplot involving the money
that is tying up police resources, thanks to the wife (Bridget
Moynahan) of one of the hostages. Once again, Caviezel is just
a stiff to watch and he is one of the film's main stars. The
conversations the five men in the warehouse have are meaningless,
since we realize early on that there is nothing we can gain from
their constant interrogations of each other; the truth will all come
out in flashback. The scenes involving Moynahan all suck; the
guy who plays the head cop in charge of the operation is clearly a
friend of somebody on the payroll, because he's dogshit. The
end action scene--the men figure out who they are just as the lead
bad guy comes back to the warehouse--is awful, and features one of
the most off-target cop gunshots I've ever imagined, let alone seen.
The entire production feels ripped off but with faces you recognize,
which makes you sit there hoping for the best.
Like I said, the premise of "Unknown" is
great, but its execution and story are so poor that I was surprised
so many big names signed on. I'm giving this a Rental, but I
can't really think of many movies that aren't better rentals than
Comments? Drop me a line at
Bellview Rating System:
"Opening Weekend": This is
the highest rating a movie can receive. Reserved for movies that
exhibit the highest level of acting, plot, character development,
setting...or Salma Hayek. Not necessarily in that order.
"$X.XX Show": This price
changes each year due to the inflation of movie prices; currently,
it is the $9.50 Show. While not technically perfect, this is a
movie that will still entertain you at a very high level.
"Undercover Brother" falls into this category; it's no "Casablanca",
but you'll have a great time watching. The $9.50 Show won't win any
Oscars, but you'll be quoting lines from the thing for ages (see
"Matinee": An average movie
that merits no more than a $6.50 viewing at your local theater.
Seeing it for less than $9.50 will make you feel a lot better about
yourself. A movie like "Blue Crush" fits this category; you leave
the theater saying "That wasn't too bad...man, did you see that
Lakers game last night?"
"Rental": This rating
indicates a movie that you see in the previews and say to your
friend, "I'll be sure to miss that one." Mostly forgettable, you
couldn't lose too much by going to Hollywood Video and paying $3 to
watch it with your sig other, but you would only do that if the
video store was out of copies of "Ronin." If you can, see this
movie for free. This is what your TV Guide would give "one and a
"Hard Vice": This rating is
the bottom of the barrel. A movie that only six other human beings
have witnessed, this is the worst movie I have ever seen. A Shannon
Tweed "thriller," it is so bad as to be funny during almost every
one of its 84 minutes, and includes the worst ending ever put into a
movie. Marginally worse than "Cabin Boy", "The Avengers" or
"Leonard, Part 6", this rating means that you should avoid this
movie at all costs, or no costs, EVEN IF YOU CAN SEE IT FOR FREE!
(Warning: strong profanity will be used in all reviews of "Hard