No one expected this huge haul for a sequel, and while some critics have placed the success at Liam Neeson's door, the sequel to Taken has raked in twice what the original did and has set an opening record for an action film during the September-October cinema season; we have to ask why? Given the film has received only a 19% approval rating on Rotten Tomatoes, and audiences have graded the film at an average of a B+ (I would give it a B), then what was driving people to see this sequel? Would the film done as well if there had not been the Libyan attacks on the US Consulate and worldwide Islamic protests against America? We can only speculate, but given the inconsistencies between the film's critical reception and how much money it's pulled in, world events are certainly re-coloring the message of the film in a context (probably) never intended.
Which brings us to a genuine problem.
|I actually didn't intend for Taken 2 to start the breathing break from our capitalist and socialist break I promised but it fits in nicely with The Cold Light Of Day. I didn't see the original Taken from 2007, but that was a totally different world then compared to today (here is a synopsis of the plot if you haven't seen it). It's important to note that Bryan Mills (Liam Neeson) and his wife Lenore (Famke Janssen) are separated and their daughter Kim (Maggie Grace) is allowed to go to Paris where she is kidnapped and sold into sex slavery before she's saved by her father. Mills kills the man who sold her, and it is the father of that man, Murad, who comes to take his revenge on Mills in Taken 2.|
|Ben Affleck's Argo opens this week, centered upon similar events, the 1979 Iran hostage crisis during the administration of Democrat President Jimmy Carter. The film, based on the actual caper of the CIA, involved disguising the six escaped Americans as a Canadian film crew to smuggle them out of Iran. I expect great things of Mr. Affleck artistically, as he has fully dedicated himself to advancing the craftsmanship of films on every level, and I have full confidence of the quality of the film; however, knowing Mr. Affleck's liberalism, I expect an interpretation of the film to be along the lines of Hollywood following President Obama's "lead from behind policy," and for Affleck--not to be showing the situation of radical Islamic anti-American hatred and possible solutions--rather, that America should pull out of the Middle East altogether because we are the bad guys and no amount of good intentions on our part can do anything to help the world, rather like The Hurt Locker, which is an anti-war film on one level only (when liberals start talking, they drop all kinds of important values to the wayside, they just can't help it, and end up contradicting themselves terribly). On the other hand, the newest James Bond film Skyfall, opening November 9, also contains an embedded reference to Istanbul (which is where Taken 2 primarily takes place) in that is where M has Bond assassinated. That will be interesting.|
I will be discussing this "generation gap" again in Expendables 2: whereas Expendables 2 sees the younger generation as not having the heart to continue America as a superpower, Taken 2 demonstrates Kim can do it, she just needs the "drive" characteristic of previous generations. She has failed her driving test twice, and Mills is trying to help her so she can pass; when they drive together in the start, he warns her about going too fast and being careful not to hit other cars; when they are trying to escape with their lives in Istanbul, he has to tell her "Faster! Go through it!" and wreck the car or anything necessary to save their lives. There is a difference, in other words, when she let's her emotions "drive her" (when she's upset that dad found her with her boyfriend) and the "drive" she needs to save herself (the future of America), her father (the founding father) and her mother (the motherland), and the film employed this technique quite well.
Eat Your Art Out,
The Fine Art Diner