Movie Review: Retribution (Antal, 2023)

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Movie: Retribution 

Production Companies: The Picture Company, Obra Films, TF1 Production, Studio Babelsberg, Vaca Films

Director: Nimrod Antal

Producers: Andrew Rona, Alex Heineman, Jaume Collet-Serra, Juan Sola

Scriptwriter: Chris Salmapour

Main Cast: Liam Neeson, Noma Dumezweni, Lilly Aspell, Jack Champion, Embeth Davidtz, Matthew Modine

Release Date: August 25th 2023 (US)

Running Time: 91 minutes

Certificate: 15


He’s a man with a very particular set of skills. Skills which he acquires over a short film. Skills which make him a nightmare for people like Dr Martin Brenner, sorry Andres Muller. To say Retribution is a daft film is an understatement as it’s basically Speed with Liam Neeson in a car and without Keanu or a bus. And it takes place in Berlin.. Also, the fact this is the third remake of a 2015 Spanish film is hilarious as the more s**t the remakes are you get the feeling this is retribution for the original director. 


Retribution follows Matt Turner (Neeson) , a bank executive as he finds out via a mysterious caller that if he gets out of his car it will explode. And yes for what little drama the film can create Matt’s kids are in the car with him so he’s got an extra dilemma. What follows is a very standard thriller film with little innovation and a weird twist which doesn’t really make sense but seems to be the film’s only choice to try and shock the audience. 


Liam Neeson’s Performance in Retribution

Trying to analyse Retribution is an interesting task as there’s not too much to mention. I mean Liam Neeson does try his best to bring some enjoyment out of the script. But alas when the screenplay is basically Speed in a car with none of the charm of that film, there’s only so much he can bring out of the film. Naturally, there’s a similarity between his performance in Taken and Retribution.

Not in terms of the action hero. But more in the gruff father figure determined to protect his kids despite insurmountable odds. I wish I could say more but when 90% of your film is Liam Neeson aggressively talking into a phone there’s not much to point out there. Other than the myriad of Taken jokes I can make but won’t because enough of my time was taken up watching this film.

Screenplay in Retribution

Somehow the screenplay doesn’t get much better as hinted at above. Mostly, it’s your fairly standard run of the mill thriller. That is until the plot twist which doesn’t inspire any confidence in the film. Basically it turns out Matt’s boss, Anders, is behind the bomb and his torment. I mean maybe it’s just me that finds this lazy as instead of trying to write a decent villain, they just pluck for the other famous bloke in the cast and hope the audience accepts the turn. When really it just unlocks more questions rather than any shock.

Like why would Anders take the risk of getting Matt to threaten himself? Especially when he’s sitting just opposite him in a car? I know Matt isn’t shown to be the smartest but that’s an absurd amount of risk. Also, the film might reveal this but when Anders was being ‘threatened’ by Matt who was voicing the criminal and threatening Matt? Just like roads in the UK, there’s plenty of p(l)otholes that will drive you up the wall once you pay attention to it for even a few minutes.


To summarise Retribution, this is a mediocre at best thriller film which struggles with the limits of the premise and its own screenplay. Honestly, the best part of the film is when it ends after a surprisingly long feeling 90 minutes. As well as having thoroughly driven its audience to boredom and wondering why they paid to see this. A true car crash of a film and not in a good way…

Overall Rating: 4/10 – Disappointing 

Target Audience: 15+

Content Warning: Moderate Violence and Gore, Moderate Profanity, Moderate Frightening and Intense Scenes

Recommendation: No