12 of 15 people found the following review helpful
Taken template with budget thrills,
This review is from: The Expatriate [DVD] (DVD)
Set in Belgium, Aaron Eckhart (Battle: Los Angeles) stars as high-tech engineer Ben Logan, who arrives to work one day to find the office he works in vacated & everyone gone. As he delves deeper into the matter, a pair of his work associates try to eliminate him & his estranged daughter Amy (Liana Liberato -Trust) so the pair go on the run. As it turns out, Logan is ex-CIA, and his past catches up with him, as he finds himself not only up against a big conglomerate, but corrupt ex-CIA colleagues who need him dead & to retain they're sensitive property. Logan put's all his skills into action, trying to keep himself & his daughter alive, while finding a bargaining chip. But it's not going to be easy, as not only is he fighting them, but he's fighting to try & regain the respect of his alienated teenage daughter.
Overall The Expatriate is a decent film, i had high hopes from reading the premise, but sadly it didn't deliver upon my high expectations enough for me to give it anymore than 3.5 stars. As the film unfolds it's very familiar ground to quite a few movies of this genre, the father/daughter relationship worked well here, which was reminiscent in particular of the genre benchmark Taken, but has more in common with Taken 2, with it's own twist on the subject matter. So using the Taken template, the potential was there after a promising beginning, but it just got bogged down in the story, that it doesn't reach out & grab your attention enough through it's 1 hour 30 minute run time to be remarkable or memorable, like the film it's trying to emulate. This is down to a couple of reasons really. Firstly, while the action sequences were good, considering that from the stunts this was a very low budget film, they were too thinly spread out over the proceedings. And inbetween it focused lengthily on the relationship between Eckhart & Liberato, as well as the other characters popping in & out, that parts were drawn out & poorly paced to keep your interest. Some of these father/daughter group sessions contained mumbled/whispering voices in scenes, that i could barley hear a thing on occasion.
The acting was good on the whole, while it hinged on 2 main performances to pull it through. Aaron Eckhart's huge screen presence & strong acting performance made the film that bit better, although he is more brains than brawn, so the hand to hand combat scenes didn't sit quite right. Liana Liberato was assured in her role, managing to easily go from sulky problem teen to scared & assured daughter, albeit a bit of an annoying character at times. Quantum Of Solace, Ex-Bond girl Olga Kurylenko adds her name more than anything to this, as she pops in & out as a CIA bigwig whose past obviously had some romantic tie in's with Eckhart's character, but her part wasn't too fleshed out & was given surprisingly little screen time. The rest of the cast were OK (A bit of movie trivia, the film also had the working title of "Erased" just prior to release).
In conclusion, it's obvious to see that The Expatriate is a vehicle to try & launch Aaron Eckhart's carer into Liam Neeson's stratosphere. And despite Eckhart's own best efforts, unfortunately the film does not excel in any particular department to get him there. Worth a watch.