Liam Neeson as Dr. Martin Harris and Diane Kruger as...

Liam Neeson as Dr. Martin Harris and Diane Kruger as Gins in Dark Castle Entertainment's thriller "Unknown" directed by Jaume Collet-Serra, a Warner Bros. Pictures release. In theatres on February 18, 2011. (Warner Bros. Pictures ) Credit: Warner Bros. Pictures Photo/Courtesy Warner Bros. Pictures

An almost summery release in this chilly February, the mystery-thriller "Unknown" feels like a light beach read, the kind of inexpensive paperback you might leave on the hotel bookshelf when you're finished. It's plot-driven, reasonably engaging and ultimately forgettable.

Based on a novel by French writer Didier van Cauwelaert, "Unknown" stars Liam Neeson as Dr. Martin Harris, an American biologist attending a conference in Berlin with his wife, Liz (January Jones, of AMC's "Mad Men"). But before he even checks into his hotel, his taxi takes a header into a river. When he wakes four days later, Liz doesn't recognize him and appears to be married to a whole different Martin Harris (Aidan Quinn). Things get even worse for Martin when people begin trying to kill him.

Martin's only clues are a little book with a list of numbers (a code!) and his memories (steamy ones). He also tracks down that taxi driver, Gina (Diane Kruger, "Inglourious Basterds"), who doesn't know much, but at least now Martin has someone pretty to talk to. Thickening the plot are a former Stasi agent (Bruno Ganz), an untrustworthy professor (Frank Langella) and a wealthy Saudi prince (Mido Hamada).

Neeson, who used his hulking frame to good effect in the 2008 action-quickie "Taken," does more fleeing than fighting here, and while a sense of tension is clearly what director Jaume Collet-Serra ("Orphan") is going for, the results can be less than satisfying. "Unknown" doesn't have the impact it could have, but it will at least pull you along until the credits roll. 

Liam Neeson: Heroic, sexy and, yes, 58

'Unknown" director Jaume Collet-Serra ("Orphan") says casting Liam Neeson in the hero role of this actioner was an easy choice.

"Liam has both the physical intensity and emotional intensity that make everything really compelling," he says. "You really get to see what the character is going through."

Neeson has reached an age when many leading actors are pushed into supporting roles. But the respected stage and film star is just hitting his stride as an action hero and sex symbol.

In the past three years, he has starred in a string of action dramas, including "The A-Team," "Clash of the Titans" and "Taken." Additionally, he played the romantic lead in the 2009 erotic thriller "Chloe." With no intention of slowing down, Neeson has a number of action-oriented projects in the works, including Joe Carnahan's action thriller "The Grey" and Peter Berg's sci-fi action-adventure "Battleship."

"I seem to have gotten a new lease on life since this 'Taken' movie was successful," the Irishman explains in his gravelly voice. "At the age of 58 - sorry, did I say 58? I mean 37 - it's great to get that kind of an action hero role."

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