Retribution Director: Nimród Antal (Film Review)

Retribution is defined as punishment inflicted on someone as vengeance for a wrong or criminal act. That may be both the premise and the review of this seriously flawed film.

Starring Liam Neeson, Embeth Davidtz, Matthew Modine, Jack Champion

RetributionI like a good car chase and much as the next film fan and Liam Neeson has always been an affable, likeable film star, but a measure of believability is needed to make a film like this entertaining. And that measure fails constantly throughout the 90 minutes it takes Retribution to run its course.

Neeson is Matt Turner, a wealthy banker based in Berlin with his wife Heather (Embeth Davidtz) and two kids, tween daughter Emily (Lilly Aspell) and sullen teen son Zach (Jack Champion).

We meet them at home as the kids are getting ready for school. Both are rebellious and badly behaved, Heather is frustrated with hubby Matt who has promised to take them to school while Matt is distracted by business dealings whirring in his head.

After much arguing (and bad parenting) the three are in Matt’s car…a Mercedes SUV, for those who care about such things…and the wife is off at “meetings”.

Immediately trouble strikes…a mysterious cell phone rings, dad eventually picks it up and a distorted, scary voice tells him there is a bomb in the car.

Of course, as anyone who has seen Speed knows, if the car stops, it blows up.

So, there’s your premise…simple, right?

Yes, but, whoever wrote this mess decided that more plot was needed. And, frankly, little of makes any sense.

The voice on the other end of the phone never reveals his motive, but suddenly everyone thinks dad is the bad guy.

One of his business partners is blown up in another car which raises the tension, but apparently throws more suspicion on poor Matt (not sure why, but it’s a “driving” force in the plot.

Matt evades an army of police vehicles, almost kills his best friend and finds out his wife is meeting with a divorce lawyer.

What else could go wrong?

Well, the dialogue seems forced and the premise is tired.

Retribution has its fair share of car crashes and tense moments. But that’s about all.

Marty Duda

Retribution opens in cinemas today