(15) 93min ***
When it comes to his daughter Kim (Maggie Grace), retired US secret agent operative Bryan (Liam Neeson) is feeling pretty redundant. Her new stepfather (Xander Berkeley) is wealthy enough to give her everything she wants and his ex-wife (Famke Janssen) doesn’t seem keen on him being a part of their lives. When Kim and her best friend get ‘taken’ by sex traffickers on a trip to Paris, Bryan realises his old skills may be of some use.
Writer and producer Luc Besson (Subway, Nikita, Leon) and director Pierre District 13 Morel’s high octane, blood thumping update of Paul Schrader’s 1979 Hardcore is every bit as ridiculous as it sounds but no less enjoyable for it. Besson and Morel leaven their reactionary vigilante flick with Francophile attitude, a whiff of Chekhovian familial regret, fantastically over the top torture (of really bad guys though, you understand) and action scenes and an unbearably cheesy tail end. Liam Neeson channels the Charles Bronson of The Mechanic, The Stone Killer, Raid on Entebbe and The Evil That Men Do in a volte-face role as a multi-functional vengeance machine. And guess what? There’s not a fundamentalist Muslim in sight.
General release from Fri 26 Sep.