Friday, October 05, 2012

Escape to The Movies: "Taken 2"

Not so good.

"Intermission" has Frankenweenie.


Andrew said...

Bobby, why did you feel you had to post the Boogeyman image? That thing scared the crap out of me as a little kid. And I've been hoping to avoid it ever since. And for good reason, I realize anew. Thanks. A bunch.

I just saw Taken for the first time a few days ago (the first time I remember seeing on TV), shortly before I heard about the sequel. I thought it was a pretty good movie, for what it was, though I didn't get all obsessed over some "do what traditional-alpha-male says or scary dirty fer'ners are gonna getcha". I just looked at it through the same lens I use to view any non-arthouse flick: my 80s action movie lens. Compared to those old gems, Taken was pretty subtle. And fun. It was exploitation-lite, which I think is just fine for a big movie.

I have no intention whatsoever of seeing the sequel, though that hand grenade thing sounds amusing enough that I'll see if I can catch it when it hits cable.

Lord Slithor said...

Once again, Bob, I'm left feeling mystified why you devoted your main review to a movie that you didn't really care all that much for, and instead devote your secondary one to Frankenweenie, which I could tell was a movie you were far more genuinely interested in and more deserving of your attention.

Now, I liked the first Taken. It was cool to see Liam Neeson in the beginning of what would be the "Middle-Aged Badass" phase of his career. I didn't read too heavily into the subtext of it. Sure, it probably was a power fantasy for disenfranchised middle-aged men. But hey, it was still fun. And I'll probably see this one too...when it comes on HBO. But I think you're looking at the whole subtext waaay too closely. Sometimes, fun is just fun.

"Oh, good. Another one." Bob, I really can't believe you're actually looking forward to taking down the next Spider-Man movie. Not after the whole shitstorm you put yourself and everyone else through this past summer. Unless you were being facetious, at this point I can only assume you're a closet masochist.

Just...stop. Let it go. It's going to happen, and short of you going into Sony's boardroom and suicide-bombing it, there is nothing you can do to stop it. I'm looking forward to it - though for very different reasons from you - and will see it and likely enjoy it, which is more than I can say for Raimi's movies, which I anticipated with a mixture of indifference and dread.

As for the Lone Ranger, I articulated my feelings on this last post. I could care less. When it comes to nostalgia properties, Flash Gordon is more my thing. And so far I haven't heard of any serious attempts to revive that in the way they're doing the Lone Ranger.

Also, they're not really doing the interpretation of the Lone Ranger I'd like to see, which was from a 1960's cartoon that had a more steampunk-inspired feel to it. Granted, this would probably make it less like the Lone Ranger and more like The Wild Wild West or even :shudder: Jonah Hex. But I think a version of the Lone Ranger with some steampunk elements might work better than those other two. But so far it doesn't look like Verbinski is going for that angle.

Anonymous said...

The intro had me cracking up. It was a good impression, I thought.

Andrew said...


After Wild Wild West and Jonah Hex (and Briscoe County Jr, if that still matters), I don't think Hollywood will ever again touch Steampunk Western. Or Steampunk anything, which is both sad and probably for the best, as they'd just ruin it.

Anonymous said...

three thing Bob

a) Fuck you 24 is awesome. And I;m not even american.

c) Would love to see you do a big picture episode about The Big Bang Theory (and rip it apart)

d) cool review, but I was hoping for Looper :(

Anonymous said...

@ Above

Doing a takedown of The Big Bang Theory is like doing a takedown of Transformers or Twilight: every savvy person already knows what's wrong with it, every angle has been exposed a hundred times over, and repeating it won't make it any less popular amongst the masses.

Lord Slithor said...

And what is wrong with The Big Bang Theory, exactly? I've heard some call it a "nerd minstrel show." But my fiancee and I are nerds and we enjoy it. In fact, we've laughed our asses off at it many times.

Let's face it, regardless of how superior we think we are to the mundanes, we can be every bit as petty and flawed. I've actually heard and had the same types of conversations they've had in the show over nerd triviata with my own friends. I've known people that were an awful lot like Sheldon Cooper or Amy Farah Fowler. So I don't really think it's all that much of inaccurate portrayal of the nerd lifestyle as people may think. If we nerds can't just swallow our pride a little bit and be able to laugh at ourselves,then we really are every bit as stuck up as everyone else thinks we are.

Anonymous said...

Truthfully, I just think Bob is a big fat wet blanket, on movies, on TV everything. I respect his opinion, sometimes agree with him, don't think ASM is such hot shit myself. But other things I just think Bob is a pretentious jerk about. I agree on ASM that his reaction was a little overblown as was his reaction to Green Lantern. I'm not saying there good movies, just not worth the vitrol. Neither is Transformers, and hell I freaking like that series even though I can hand pick flaws out of it with fine tooth comb. And I'm sure Taken 2 is a better movie than he makes out. So, I guess what I'm saying as a fan, is that Bob can suck it.

Anonymous said...

@ Lord Slithor

I remember one explanation for why a lot of geeky people don't really like the show comparing it to Fox Trot. In Big Bang Theory, they might play Dungeons and Dragons and the inherent joke to most of it is "hey, this is a thing that exists and geeks like it! Isn't that so silly and wacky?!" Fox Trot would make a joke about Jason spending hours rolling single die in a game shop to get a tenth of a percent margin of error of which ones give the best results. The joke is that he's a mathematical genius grossly misapplying his skills to a largely frivolous pastime and it fits perfectly with his established personality.

The key difference is Bill Amend is an actual geek writing geek humor while the writers of Big Bang Theory are generic sitcom writers that have one or two people feeding them shallow geek references. There's also the fact that they give their references the same amount research as any other television show (i.e. next to none); it's bad enough people are total idiots about computers and criminal prosecution because of police shows.

Chris Cesarano said...

Big Bang Theory is a strange show. On one hand it has a lot of jokes made for nerds by nerds (well, seemingly by nerds). On the other hand, it is very clearly pandering to the mainstream notion of what geeks and nerds are, and oh look, isn't it cute how funny and weird they all are. It's a bit insulting, and also having had friends that were big geeks and nerds and yet looked, spoke and acted like "normal" people just proves the basics of the series wrong.

Plus, I finally saw the episode where Penny and Leonard first started dating, and it was every nerd's fantasy. The girl is tired of dating the handsome asshole that breaks her heart, and in her moment of weakness he finally, indirectly, asks her on a date, and she agrees! And this girl, with no common interests at all, just an attractive appearance, and he fall in love.


There's a lot wrong with Chuck Lorre. But, I'd say Big Bang Theory is the least offensive or mind numbing of his shows. It's a guilty pleasure. I feel like I should hate it, but I find it amusing nonetheless.

As for Taken, I know Luc Besson helped write the first one which was my whole reason for seeing it. But it doesn't seem like he played a major part, so I have no allegiance to it as a franchise.

Also, call me a heathen, but I enjoy Wasabi more than The Fifth Element. But, they're technically two different movies, and...actually, scratch that. My preference fluctuates on my mood.

Man, I should dig up other Luc Besson stuff. He's good at what he does.

Omorka said...

The cold open was hilarious. I think your voice acting's improving. Also, yay, a Bogeyman reference!

I have precisely zero love for action films that aren't also either comedies or genre films, so the likelihood that I would have seen the Taken sequel was miniscule to begin with. Let me echo the question - why did that get the main review, and Frankenweenie get relegated to the column?

Sanunes said...


I would guess there could be a couple of reasons for what movie he reviews in print and in the video. The first thought for me is that its based on when he sees the screener, for he might have different deadlines for the different presentations and the other idea is that Taken 2 might have translated better to an audio review in his opinion. Of course there might have been a simple coin toss too.

Anonymous said...

My problem with TBBT is that the creators are making fun of a mental disability. The creators may deny that Sheldon has Asperger Syndrome, that just means they are either willfully uninformed or lying. As someone that has Asperger and knows several others that has it I KNOW that Sheldon shows all the symptoms. One of my friends actually has "His spot" it's not something funny, he can become on the verge of physically ill if he does not get to sit in his spot. This is making fun of people that has a kind of autism.
If they made a joke about a someone in a wheelchair not being able to get up some stairs and punctuated that this showing what a weirdo and a loser the person was for not being able to get up some stairs that would not be funny, it would be offensive. But thanks to Asperger and other Autistic disabilities not being understood by the public then its okay to make fun of them.

Chris Cesarano said...

I don't think the idea of Sheldon is that he has any of those syndroms myself, either. The whole "his spot" is a result of being incredibly anal about all things. He is also highly conceited, convinced of his own genius, and refuses to try and understand anyone else because he sees things a certain way and no one else makes sense for seeing them differently.

These are traits I've seen in plenty of people without Asperger's. The whole reason he has "his spot" is because he has systematically found a location where things are perfect. That's not to say people with Asperger's cannot or do not do the same thing, but you're basically taking simple information and calling it a symptom.

Just reading the Wikipedia page is enough to tell me that people are loosely making the connection to him having Asperger's. Hell, I've known people with Asperger's as well. The whole idea of Sheldon is that he's just so conceited an asshole he refuses to meet others on their level, to "bring himself down to their level" as it were. It isn't that he cannot empathize with others on the show, it is that he refuses to do so.

It seems to me like there were a couple episodes where someone broke their leg and had to use a wheelchair for a while and you're trying to claim they're handicapped.

Unknown said...

ok, im half turkish, that is fucking bullshit, turkey is ok, i have been there loads and lived there. fucking christ. my grandparents arent even really muslim, they are the nicest people ever. srly, they arent racist.

Andrew said...


In Hollywood's eyes (and, sadly, a lot of their market), Turks are either slimy Europeans or scary Middle Easterners. Pick your poison. I don't think it's a co-incidence they chose Albanians as the villains in the first one. They're Europeans, nobody here knows a damn thing about them, and hey, they tend to be a little less "European" than the rest of the continent. Y'know? If you catch my drift.

I imagine Istanbul in particular would be about as safe and cosmopolitan as anywhere within a hundred miles at least. But no. Hollywood's logic: Turkey = strange foreign land our customers don't know anything about = they're here for your wimminfolk! Shoot first and reload later!

Have you noticed how often the French are villainized in Hollywood movies? Seriously, the FRENCH. What did they ever do to us? Anytime Hollywood needs a dirty foreigner for a villain, but doesn't want to be accused of being racist, they go right to some disreputable Parisian (inevitably portrayed by an Englishman or a Dane). And the French, for their part, don't seem to care what Hollywood says about them, so they're doubly easy targets. If you want them to stop saying bad things about you, just refuse to buy their stuff until you leave you alone. Like China's doing. They'll soon go back to demonizing the Arabs instead.

Anonymous said...

@Unknown and Andrew

Are you both trying to suggest even remotely, that Turkey doesn't deserve to be painted in a horrible light because... Dare I say it, you think they've never done anything wrong?

They joined the Central powers in WW1, tried to Genocide the Armenian people, and were notoriously ruthless leaders over conquered nations ages ago.

The French? Similar things. Napoleon wasn't a good man. Is it the PEOPLES fault? No not entirely, but it'd be wrong to ignore those bad things happened.

And because they happened, it's going to create a negative image of them in peoples minds. This leads to writers who perceive them as unsavory to write them as bad guys.

In the end, it's a damn movie. Get the hell over it.

Andrew said...


OK, mentioning the Ottoman Empire's alliance with Imperial Germany is silly enough (yes, the Armenian Genocide is something that shouldn't be forgotten, especially given the clear example of what happened when the world forgot it and what kind of example that set...), but there is no reason that modern Turks should be tarred with that century-long association. World War I was a barbaric waste of life and everything else and both sides should be eternally ashamed of getting so many people killed over something so stupid as balance-of-power considerations and Imperial honor. Germany and the Ottomans weren't THAT much worse than France or Britain at the time, and certainly Russia (who was on France and Britain's side) wasn't any more benevolent.

The Ottoman Empire did do some brutal things in the late 19th century, but from the time of their inception in the 14th century up until then, they were one of the most tolerant societies in the Western world. They didn't have inquisitions. They didn't have a 30 Years' War that killed 1/3 of Germany (at the time, the second-most populous country in Europe). They didn't have inter-confessional wars that raged for centuries. They accepted conquered Christians and especially the oft-maligned Jews as free members of their empire, on terms that would have been enviable in the Christian world at the time. Not as equals, but still better than they would have gotten anywhere else, including the nascent American colonies (which were hotbeds of religious conformity, slave economies, and constant wars against the native peoples). Again, they did resort to barbarity as their empire started to collapse and new voices urged for more stringent (read: brutally violent) means to retain centralized authority, but compare that to the pograms of Russia, the anti-Semitism in Germany and France, the plantations and accepted starvations in Ireland, and the true hell that Belgium's king unleashed in the Congo, and you can see that the Turks don't deserve to be singled out as some exceptionally barbaric people. There was plenty of barbarism to go around in those days. So why do you believe the Turks deserve special shame?

Does it seem stupid that I'm even willing to entertain this remark in such length? It should. It's a hundred years ago, I don't know what the hell that has to do with modern perception of contemporary human beings. Most people don't know or care about that war anymore, and I doubt modern perceptions (or Hollywood's, especially) are even remotely based on it. The topic isn't about WWII-biased perceptions of Germans, or Cold War-biased perceptions of Russians, which are at the very least far better known and thus more understandable biases for Hollywood or the public to have. So why bring it up? What does that have to do with anything? We're talking about the French, the Turks, the Albanians, etc. TODAY. Not four generations ago.

Andrew said...


You also bring up Napoleon and the First Empire as if it's somehow a justification for villainizing the French. Seriously? Not only was Napoleon a comparatively enlightened figure in the Europe of his time (the Code Napoleon is still the basis of a great many laws and civil codes in modern Europe), when Hapsburg Feudalism, Prussian militarism, and Romanov absolutism was the norm, but that was friggin' TWO hundred years ago. How would you feel if someone brought up McCarthyism or Jim Crow whenever you or someone else complains about how Americans are viewed negatively overseas (I'm going by the percentages and assuming you, as I, are American). It doesn't reflect us anymore, it's generations in the past. Yes, there's a legacy there, and it's not wholly irrelevant, but that doesn't make it acceptable to brand us all as segregationists or violent racists just because a sizeable amount of our grandparents and great-grandparents may have been.

I find it damn comical that you think a slanted view of the French is somehow justified based on the fact that Napoleon once existed and once waged war on the old aristocratic order for no-less-honorable aims than his opponents themselves held (war for land, war for ideology, war for honor). The French were no more brutal than anyone else back in those absolutist days, why single the French out for such scorn? Are we supposed to belief that everyone just deserves to be thought of as somehow evil based on something that once happened within their country's borders long ago long before they were born? Let's just imprison all of Mongolia while we're at it, just look at all the people they killed friggin' EIGHT hundred years ago. That kind of guilt just deserves to carry on generation after generation, no? That's just dumb. I don't want to attack you personally, just your inane post, but damn, seriously, that's just all kinds of messed up.

Aiddon said...

BBT is a typical sitcom; unoffensive, but also shallow and tepid. And yes, Sheldon definitely has Asperger's or is autistic. There's a difference between quirky and having actual mental problems. He has all the habits and symptoms of a typical autistic.

Capt Derp said...

Spot-on about Taken. I'm surprised you actually gave it attention at all, but then I can understand—whatever pays the bills.

I was cajoled into watching the first one, and it made me remember why I disliked most of Steven Segal's movies. Though that was an afterthought. My first big thought was "who is REALLY the bad guy, here?" followed shortly by "so we're just going to write off the daughter's best friend like that, huh?" and topped off with "So...the French govt isn't going to demand this asshole's head on a pike for shooting up their city?"

Yeah, Taken sucked to me. Neeson can do a lot better.

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