Director: does it matter?
Director: wait, the guy's name is Olivier Fontana. And he changed it to: Megaton.
Director: Olivier Megaton
Should have named himself: Olivier Megatron
Taken: Liam Neeson
Phoenix: Famke Janssen
She does run adorably: Maggie Grace
Makes out with Maggie Grace for a paycheck: Luke Grimes
What It's Good For:
-making you think Liam Neeson will do martial arts, then not having him do much
-Maggie Grace parkour
-seeing Famke Janssen be unconscious
-the Dos Equis guy
-making you feel sick since Megaton shot the entire film during an earthquake, that's the only reason I can fathom for the camera being so fucking jumpy
-seeing a lot of the gigantic building with a dome and spires and flags (Hagia Sophia?)
-continuing the myth that sequels aren't as good as the original
-reigniting interest in the classic game "memory"
-Liam Neeson looks bored, I mean, in the climactic scene he even admits to being tired
-there are only two significant action sequences, one is unintelligible, the other is aight
-you have to suspend disbelief and believe Maggie Grace's character can drive like Jason Bourne
-the stupid brooding sound effect whenever the film cuts from Liam Neeson & Crew to the Dos Equis Man & His Henchmen...
-crazy amounts of cutting during certain sequences
-no idea how the bad guy dies
This is what I want. I want the producer of Taken 2, Luc Besson, to say, "Yes, we are aware Rade looks like the Dos Equis guy. This was intentional because we thought it would be hilarious."
Why can't we get a movie like that? I mean, seriously. Think about what you have to lose. Taken is, I think, a sweet movie. Like, it's actually a film. It's not entertaining in the same way...Hard Target is. Hard Target knew exactly what was up. Jean Claude Van Damme punches out a snake. They weren't messing around when they made that movie. Well, they were messing around. But they weren't messing around at messing around, they were taking their messing around seriously. The creators of Hard Target had nothing to lose so they had fun. Taken was very serious. I don't think we can say the same about Taken 2.
Let me sum up two of the character arcs. Maggie Grace goes from making out with her boyfriend to throwing grenades to stunt driving. Famke/Jean Grey goes from smiling and sort of flirting with her husband to hanging upside down to being carried around by Albanian men. Aren't these arcs a little ridiculous; would you say this is a film that's trying hard? Taken 2 has less action than Taken. Do you find that ridiculous? Is this the sign of a movie that is trying hard to meet expectations? Would it be ANY LESS ridiculous to have hinted several times that the villain is The Most Interesting Man In The World????????????????????????????????????
I'm not saying it has to be blatant, but why can't a movie have subtle pop culture easter eggs?
Okay, okay, okay, there's The Cabin in the Woods. There were a ton of references in that movie. AND HOW AWESOME IS IT????????? Is that a reaver? Were those masked people from The Strangers? Boomer?
Maybe you don't think The Cabin in the Woods is awesome. But what about Hot Fuzz? Or Shaun of the Dead? These movies all contain genre references. Cabin horror movies. Fuzz action movies. Shaun zombie movies.
Most of the pop culture movies we have are extreme spoofs like Naked Gun or Scary Movie or Not Another Teen Movie or Hot Shotz. But even Scary and Teen are genre spoofs (scary movies, high school movies).
This isn't even an analysis at this point. This is just saying I want to see something in film I haven't seen before. The inclusion of pop culture people without the inclusion being totally in you face.
In other words: I want subtly.
And I'm not talking about references. Like dialogue. Like someone saying "Here's looking at you, baby" and we get it's a mutilated reference to Casablanca.
I'm talking I want a movie that has Rick Blaine (does anyone remember that this is Bogart's name in Casablanca, I never hear people use it?) as a character, without ever explicitly saying it's Rick Blaine. Say two characters are at an airport bar and they sit down at the bar next to some guy who is quiet and sitting over his drink and they ask him questions and he sort of talks like Bogart and answers in a way that is like Rick Blaine. Maybe he references owning a nightclub. Maybe he doesn't. The point is, whether or not there are obvious hints, the character is meant to be Rick Blaine. Maybe he joins them on the trip.
Here's the thing. All we really know about the characters we see in movies and TV shows and commercials and books are the things we see and hear about in the movies and TV shows and commercials and books. At the end of Dodgeball I have no idea what happens to those characters. Likewise, I have no idea what Tyler Durden was doing when he was 25. Bill Murray in Groundhog Day, do he and Rita live happily ever after? I don't know Luke's (Cool Hand Luke) food preferences, where he likes to vacation, if he'd rather have a dog or a cat, if he's better at pool or bowling, has he ever golfed, does he have a fear of horses?
What I'm getting at: we don't know our favorite characters, or even our least favorite characters. A majority of their life is left unexplored, even in biopics like Benjamin Button or Forrest Gump. There is ZERO way a movie or book or commercial or TV show can show us the entirety of a person's life. Unless that person was a baby and we see the baby born and the camera follows the baby without any gaps in time for an x-amount of time and then the world ends. Then we would have seen someone's entire life. But in 2 hours, half an hour, in 300 pages, in 30 seconds, NO WAY can you find out someone's entire life. This means that there's still a lot left to know about the characters we know, love, and hate.
I want a movie that has Jon Garfunkle as a minor character. I want a movie that has Liz Lemon as a minor character. I want a movie that has Craig Ferguson as a character. I want a movie that has Neo as a minor character. I want a movie that has the Hazard-commercial guy as a main character. I want a movie with Archer as a character. Jessica Rabbit. I want the Driver to show up. I want Tommy from The Power Rangers to appear. Maybe it's just a cameo, maybe they are main characters, maybe they're minor characters, maybe this is used as a joke (like having the Most Interesting Man In The World being the bad guy in Taken 2 without saying it's the MIMITW), maybe these characters are used seriously...I don't care as long as they're used!
And let me clarify in case you think I'm an idiot for this: I don't mean we need the same actors or actresses reprising the roles. Bogart is dead (shame). You don't need Tina Fey. Or Craig Ferguson. Or Keanu. Or the Hazard-commercial guy. Archer isn't even a real person, same with Jessica Rabbit. You would just get actors and actresses who look like these people to play these people...to...you know...act. I mean, you may still think this is a dumb idea and I'm an idiot, but don't think I'm an idiot for wanting the actors or actresses to reprise their roles. I'm not saying that. Think Midnight in Paris. Think Rade Serbedjiza as Jonathan Goldsmith's Dos Equis guy.
The ultimate point I'm making is this: I think Taken 2 is lackluster. And it would be endlessly more interesting if the bad guy wasn't some Albanian mobster that looks like the Dos Equis guy but WAS the Dos Equis guy. Sure, that's a gimmick. But I think it's a fucking awesome gimmick.
Did I Like It:
No? Yes? I just...didn't care. In the confrontation between Dos Equis guy and Neeson, Neeson says "I'm tired" and I nodded. Yeah, me too. The movie just...didn't excite me. I didn't think it was the worst thing ever. Just...a thing. "This exists, sweet."
I'm really confused by two things.
1. Maggie Grace goes into her dad's room, can't open the closet, so goes out the window, into another room, and into that closet. Yet that ends up being the closest with her dad's suitcase? Was she not in her dad's room the first time? Was that not a closet she was trying to go into the first time?
2. How does Dos Equis guy die? Neeson shoves him in the face. Did he hit his head? Did he have a heart attack? Did Neeson go Shang Tsung and steal dude's soul? Did the guy get impaled on a fancy faucet (you can see them in the background, on the wall)? Did he just feint?
% Character / % Actor's personality / Uniqueness Grade for actor
-movies involving Albania: Wag the Dog; Inside Man; Syriana; Terminal; Manchurian Candidate
-movies involving hanging upside down: Spider-Man; I am Legend; Who Framed Roger Rabbit
-movies involving Maggie Grace in a car chase:
-movies involving kidnapping: Taken; Man on Fire; The Silence of the Lambs; Die Hard
-movie Maggie Grace is in with a title I love: Malice in Wonderland
-fucking awesome charity Dos Equis guy helps: SABRE foundation