Retribution (2023) Review

A Fun Ride


One of Liam’s better, recent vehicles, Retribution is far from perfect, but it’s hugely entertaining and unfolds at a fast clip.

Plot: Investment exec Matt Turner(Neeson), and his two kids, are held captive in his car by a madman who tells them the vehicle will explode if they get out. As the day progresses, Matt will have to face his demons and find out who he really is to survive.

Review: Retribution, while never terribly original or groundbreaking, is like guilty comfort food. Easy to digest but not necessarily good for you. But while you’re with it, it’s highly enjoyable.

Neeson plays the usual family-man-in-jeopardy role here and of course he rises to the occasion when his family, who usually come second or third in his busy life, are threatened.  This film sorta plays out like 2003’s Phone Booth but with explosions and car chases.

Speaking of action, Retribution has some fairly decent fireworks and some nice car stunts.  The explosions from the mad bomber are spectacularly captured to show maximum damage has occured and the German locations are a nice change from US set thrillers.

Another item of note is the fact that director, Nimrod Antal (Vacancy), has chosen to shoot his pic like a proper motion picture — no jump cuts or shaky cam — and it was nice to be able to follow the action without unneeded distraction.

The supporting players in the pic are fairly decent, with Embeth Davidtz playing Matt’s neglected wife, Heather, and Matthew Modine pops up as Neeson’s boss in a small, but pivotal role.

Child actors usually get on my nerves, but Jack Champion and Lilly Aspell are fantastic as Neeson’s kids.  They seem real and authentic and when trouble arises, they stand by him in his hour of need.

Neeson has been on a bit of a streak lately, with this and Marlowe (which was awesome).  While far from his best, Retribution has some nice action, an explosive finale and the whole things plays out at breakneck speed once it kicks off.  I enjoyed this film.  Classic? No? Fun while it’s on? Hell yeah.