“Retribution,” the latest action film from Liam Neeson, hit theaters Friday, and the reviews have been harsh, with some critics calling the film a “paycheck movie,” and that the film is “devoid of thrills, excitement, or purpose.”
“Maybe it’s time for Liam Neeson to retire from the action-movie game,” Rolling Stone posed with its headline.
At press time, the film ranked as rotten on Rotten Tomatoes‘ aggregated ratings, with a dismal 30% score based off of 40 reviews.
Vulture critic Bilge Ebiri wrote, “This is a paycheck movie, to be sure, the kind of direct-to-video title that gets a theatrical release because the lead actor still has star power. But he and his director have earned that paycheck.”
Rogerebert.com critic Peter Sobczynski, meanwhile, took a harsher stance. “A film so devoid of thrills, excitement, or purpose that it seems to have been custom-made to play in empty multiplexes during the traditionally dead last weeks of summer,” he wrote.
In “Retribution,” Liam Neeson stars as financier Matt Turner. While driving with his two kids, he receives a phone call from an unknown terrorist who says there is a bomb in the car. Unable to exit the vehicle, Turner must now follow a series of twisted instructions while trying to figure out how to survive.
Nimrod Antal directed the movie, which is a remake of the 2015 Spanish film “El Desconocido.”
In his review for Galveston Daily News, Dustin Chase wrote of “Retribution,” “Unintended laughs, cringe worthy dialogue and a toilet paper plot reduce the latest Neeson thriller to an embarrassment.”
Pete Hammond of Deadline wrote, “This all continues for 91 minutes total, and even with that short running time it starts to feel awfully long because we have all seen variations of this gimmick in so many movies.”
Richard Roeper from the Chicago Sun-Times wrote, “I’m not ready to give up on Liam Neeson thrillers, but it might be time to take it to the next level. Put him in a hot air balloon, or in a time-travel device, or how about the world’s largest rollercoaster? Let’s do it!”
And Chris Evangelista from Slashfilm contributed to the discourse, writing, “It feels like the type of movie destined to play on TBS — something dads fall asleep to when ballgames are rained out.”
“Retribution” from Lionsgate opens in theaters Friday.