Sunday, October 7, 2012

Taken 2

Which of the three is most effective?

The deadening frustration in watching Taken 2 shares it blame with the filmmakers and the audience. In most instances, a moviegoer should hope to be entertained in a comparatively intelligent manner, but he or she should also not have high expectations for a cash-grab sequel of a flawed, grimy B-movie. Taken at least delivered Liam Neeson as Bryan Mills, a mean wrecking machine of a security consultant, in a series of outlandish set pieces that were viscerally exciting, though severely lacking intellectually and highly questionable in their international and gender politics. If you haven’t seen its weekly television airings, it’s about Mills violently taking down the Albanian sex trafficker thugs that kidnapped his estranged daughter Kim (Maggie Grace) during her Paris vacation with her friend. The plot for the sequel – spoilers – is that Mills and his ex-wife Lenore (Famke Janssen) get taken by relatives of those traffickers at the start of an impromptu family vacation in Istanbul. Though this is an eye-roll of a conceit, suspension of disbelief should be granted for nearly any movie, until it fails to present anything in a tonally consistent and logical manner.

Monday, October 1, 2012


Writer-director Rian Johnson’s Looper is one of the most entertaining films I’ve seen in recent memory, and more than delivered upon both its genre premise and what I hoped would be its thematic approach. It’s daring and measured, both playing to and subverting expectations of its audience. I avoided every piece of marketing for the film before seeing it: I knew it concerned time-traveling hitmen, and that its two leads, Joseph Gordon-Levitt and Bruce Willis, played the same character, but that was it. The news that Johnson was directing this type of picture was enough of a draw for me, so that I didn’t feel the need to convince myself further, and risk spoiling the experience.