MOVIE PREVIEW – Liam Neeson is back: the Irish actor returns in another action film, in which he embarks on a violent revenge plot. In the famous 2008 thriller Taken, Neeson follows his daughter halfway around the world after she is kidnapped by human traffickers. He tirelessly tracks her down, vowing revenge on those who hurt her. But in Liam Neeson’s new film, Retribution, the action star is followed through car chases, bomb threats and an epic tale of revenge. Here’s everything we know.
Liam Neeson’s most famous character, a former Black Ops agent, threatens kidnappers with an iconic speech that ends with “I will find you, I will find you, and I will kill you”. This bone-crushing line sums up the arc of Taken and cemented Neeson’s character as a determined, protective father out for John Wick-style revenge.
On the other hand, Neeson’s new film, Retribution, is the opposite of Taken. While in Taken a father searches for his children and the attackers, Retribution follows Neeson as he flees from the attackers and desperately tries to protect his children. When his family is targeted by an unknown, deranged bomber, Neeson has no choice but to engage in a Speed-style car chase as he pursues the threat to his life. Ahead of the August 2023 premiere, here’s everything we know about Retribution.
Retribution: the plot
The official synopsis is:
When a mysterious phone caller plants a bomb under the seat of his car, Matt Turner embarks on a high-speed chase through the city to complete a specific task. With his children trapped in the backseat and a bomb that explodes when they get out of the car, the daily commute becomes a game of life and death as Matt races against time to save his family, following the stranger’s increasingly dangerous instructions.
In the film, Neeson plays Matt Turner, a business mogul and hard-working father. On an ordinary, everyday trip to drop his kids off at school, Matt receives a shocking phone call. The man who is about to become a murderer reveals that Matt’s car is rigged to explode – the driver’s seat and the two back seats where his children are patiently waiting.
If Matt stops driving, the car will explode. If Matt or his children move from their seats, the car will explode. “Honey, something’s happened.” Neeson calmly tells his wife in the trailer. “A man put a bomb in the car. There are pressure detonators under our seats. We can’t get out. The car is going to blow up.”
He has no choice but to follow the mysterious caller’s instructions as he tries to find out who is behind it all and, more importantly, why his family is being targeted. As the instructions become more complicated and the threats more serious, Matt Turner becomes a suspect to local law enforcement, who have reason to believe that Turner has taken his children hostage and planted the bombs himself.
Matt (on the trail of law enforcement) is confronted with the skeletons of his past as he races to prove his innocence, identify his blackmailer and keep his children safe. The trailer ends with Matt yelling, “You hurt my daughter, you son of a bitch. I’ll kill you!” echoing his monologue from Taken.
Retribution: cast and crew
Retribution stars Liam Neeson (Schindler’s List, Taken), Noma Dumezweni (The Little Mermaid), Lilly Aspell (Wonder Woman) and Jack Champion (Avatar: Water’s Edge), and also stars Emily Husche (The Island), Embeth Davidtz (Army of Darkness) and Matthew Modine (Stranger Things).
Retribution is directed by Antal Nimród (Slave, Predators, Armored) from a screenplay by Chris Salmanpour (FBI: Most Wanted) and Andrew Baldwin. The duo adapted the Spanish film El Desconocido, inspired by Retribution, which received eight Goya Award nominations in 2018. Salmanpour and Baldwin are joined by writer Ward Parry (Curtiz).
The film is produced by Jaume Collet-Serra, Juan Sola, Andrew Rona and Alex Heineman. The four of them are producing the film for Lionsgate Studios (The Expendables, John Wick, Terminator 2: Judgment Day) in association with Studio Babelsberg Motion Pictures and Studio Babelsberg Motion Pictures.
Behind the camera in this film is a veteran crew that has proven itself in all kinds of other films. In addition to the main cast, Retribution also features film composer Harry Gregson-Williams, known for his work on The Chronicles of Narnia, The Salvation Expedition, Metal Gear Solid 3 and the Call of Duty video games.
The famous set designer David Scheunemann also contributed to the project. Scheunemann is best known for his work on Dirty Brygantics, The Killer Flight, Atomic Blonde and Deadpool 2. He is a consummate action-thriller production manager; his previous work is testament to his ability to stay within a curated, artistic vision while also utilising classic car chase, shoot-out, action-thriller motifs.
Retribution: the release date and everything else
Retribution is an international collaboration between American, French, Spanish and German studios, namely Studiocanal and Studio Babelsberg Motion Pictures. In Retribution, Liam Neeson joins forces with The Picture Company and Studiocanal, making this his fourth film venture with the production and distribution studios, following Non-Stop, The Commuter and The Unknown.
In addition to The Retribution, Liam Neeson will also star in Thug and In the Land of Saints and Sinners in the coming months.
The film will be released exclusively in cinemas on 25 August 2023.