Tag Archive: Liam Neeson

Movie Review: Taken 2

Do you remember the film Taken? Here is a quick over view: Liam Neeson plays an ex-special forces guy whose daughter takes a trip with a friend to Paris. Sadly she and her friend are kidnapped by some guys and sold into sex slavery. Liam Neeson puts the pieces together to find his daughter and slaughters everyone who stands in his way. The movie was dark, action packed, and frankly a classic. It also made a lot of money in theaters world wide and even more in DVD sales and downloads. So of course a sequel was coming…

Here is the thing, they could have done anything, options were really endless when it came to the sequel. What we get as viewers is the laziest action movie I’ve seen in a long time. The film starts off with Liam Neeson freaking out about his daughter missing her third driving lesson. Okay already I had problems with this because when he finds his daughter(Maggie Grace) she seems to have gotten over what happened in the first film. Now when I watched Taken I assume she had been sexually assaulted and pumped with drugs before being sold off. To have her in the sequel just acting like a high school chick with no problems minus wanting to hang out with her boy friend simply annoyed me. Anyway the film jump starts quick as Neeson takes a job to lead a security effort in Istanbul. His ex-wife and daughter surprise him with a visit. Problem is the fathers and brothers of the men Neeson killed in the first film are coming after him for revenge. I’m not kidding, that’s it, the villains are just simply out for revenge.

The movie doesn’t really attempt at all to do anything with its characters. Neeson and his ex-wife are ambushed and “taken”. The twist being his daughter is the one to avoid being captured. Problem is there are so many stupid scenes that will leave you scratching your head. Neeson is surrounded by armed gun men, yet they allow him to have a like five minute conversation with his daughter on the phone. Later when Neeson is restrained, they leave him in the room alone long enough for him to call her AGAIN! They could have had anything happen here and they chose the stuff we would see in 1970’s Bond movies where the bad guys leave the hero alone for no reason what so ever just so he can escape.

The action is all based off of stupidity. Neeson escapes(of course) and kills like everyone in the building. He leaves his ex-wife behind while he goes on the killing spree. While he’s away two men come and pull her into a van. So Neeson then has to go after them. He reconnects with his daughter and even though she was confident she didn’t even want a driver license she somehow drives a Turkish taxi like Ryan Gosling in “Drive”.

When it comes to the epic conclusion. It is merely Neeson backing the bad guys into a bath house. He fights one in a hand to hand combat scene, there is no weight here. No fun. In Indiana Jones movies we know Indy is going to win, he gets his face punched in and always finds a way to beat the bad guy, the thing is that the fight is always fun or exciting. Neeson fighting some huge Albanian is just by the numbers, no imagination in it. When he finishes the guy off I’m not even sure how he did it. The villains are so boring and also so easily defeated that the movie has absolutely no weight to it. In the first movie the bad guys are disgusting, they abduct girls to be raped to death essentially. These guys are a bunch of older Albanians wanting “revenge”.

The film is too by the numbers from start to finish. Nothing daring or brutal about it. What is really amazing is that the action doesn’t even stand out. It’s all something we’ve seen before. The only good thing about it is how great an action star Neeson is, and how good Maggie Grace was. In the first film all she had to do was scream and looked drugged. Here she has a lot more to do and she pulls it off. I would have enjoyed a movie about her and her father teaming up without the ex-wife getting kidnapped story. This really was a let down.

Rating: 2/10

Movie Review: Battleship

So a movie is based off a board game, what can go wrong? A lot actually. Where to start with this flick? Well I guess will just start at the beginning, we open in 2005 where I guess NASA even though I don’t think we’re suppose to believe it was them, sent a satelite into space to send a signal to very Earth like planet across the universe. At this same time we meet Alex Hopper(Taylor Kitsch) and his brother Stone(Alexander Skarsgard) who is busy giving Alex a stern talking to about responsibility. Problem is once Brooklyn Decker walks in he ignores his brother and attempts to hit on her. She for some odd reason she REALLY wants a chicken burrito. So of course Alex breaks into a 7/11 to get one, the police show up and taze him. Somehow this random nonsense wakes Alex up and his brother demands he joins the Navy… Yes this is how the movie begins.

Finally we skip to present day where five alien ships pick up on the signal and shoot straight for Earth. Their “communication” ship is damaged and crashes into China. This one scene is what they use mostly in the trailer even though in the movie it’s a total accident. The other four ships land in the middle of the ocean, conveniently at the same time the Navy is doing a gigantic naval exercise including Canadian and Japanese ships(those are the only one’s we’re shown). The aliens create a force field around Hawaii and themselves. This looks in the Hooper brothers on two different destroyers and one Japanese ship.

Things get really weird after all of this. So while Hooper and the other ships take on the aliens what is the rest of the world doing? Well nothing. The rest of the Navy and the American/World militaries just sit around and do totally nothing while all of this happens. We follow Liam Neeson who leads the Navy and the dude is obviously mailing his performance in big time.

The acting all together is pretty tame, Kitsch really tries to be an action hero here but his lines are so terribly there is no way to act out of it. Brooklyn Decker doesn’t have much to do besides look the way she does so her character does and says very little. Amazingly Rihanna is the only one here who seems to try. Now it’s her first movie so obviously she would try harder, but while everyone was either stale or on the wrong note, she seemed to be the only one having fun with such a stupid and crazy movie.

Now the aliens are of course the most interesting part of the film and almost everything they do is a head scratcher. I now believe it was a dig at American foreign policy, since the aliens do exactly the same thing the military does. The aliens arrive, only attack ships when they are attacked. When they attack the island of Hawaii they take out military copters and planes and highways, otherwise they avoid civilian casualties. When the aliens face down with people, if you don’t attack them they don’t attack you. Frankly this comes off rather, well oddly, as the Navy is very aggressive in attacking them and if it wasn’t for the destruction many might think the aliens are the under dogs. Their look is rather interesting, they essentially look like UFC fighters. Bald, human, lizard eyes, goatees(I’m serious) and like six fingers.

Where I was impressed was how they snuck in the connections to the board game. I don’t think anyone screams “You sunk my battleship!” but we do get scenes where gunners essentially use the “F 11” system. The missiles the aliens use also look like the pegs from the board game which is kind of cool I guess.

The worst part of the film is it’s filled with pandering and very corny moments involving veterans. One moment where they enlist veterans to work on the battleship to fight the aliens. I get why they did this, but it comes off so badly and you just feel weird while watching it. ┬áThe film is just terrible, Kitsch is solid and Rihanna is surprising. There are some cool moments and I found the aliens interesting even though the film never addresses what their eventual plan is and why they look like roid raging UFC fighters.

Rating: 3/10


Movie Review: The Grey

Liam Neeson’s daughter gets kidnapped… No wait… Liam Neeson looses his memory and finds out… No wait this is the one with the wolves. Liam Neeson has become somewhat of a big time action hero. That is the first thing you need to understand about this film, it’s good, but not what you think it is. We follow a group of men working at an oil Alaskan rig, Neeson plays Ottway, a man who has left a woman behind to hunt wolves to protect the workers. After the men’s plane crashes on a return flight, they finds themselves not only dealing with surviving the crash and the cold, but wolves pop up and start attacking them. The men go through a lot as they face death. This movie is one of the grittiest films I’ve seen in a while and I enjoyed it.

The best thing about the film is how real it feels, the plane crash is brutal and real. It really had me taking a deep breath. Ottway is an obvious man’s man and knows exactly what to do as the survivors of the crash try and survive. What stands out though is several characters that only have maybe even just minutes of screen time matter. This makes the death and pain in the film feel real.

What really stands out about the film is the work with the wolves. No real wolves seemed to be used, but at the same time the CGI is limited and not obvious. The wolves are mostly heard and off screen. It makes them scarier. Films seem to be pulling away from the idea that less is more. The film “Alien” is scary as all hell because we barely see the alien attacking the crew. Carnahan uses great techniques to scare the audience with the wolves. A lot of the time we just see their eyes or breath in the cold air. It works.

Another big surprise is what the characters go through, the problems men have with each other. The concept of death and what do you do if when facing death you don’t believe in an afterlife. The film gets deep in places which I’m sure some audiences won’t exactly see coming. For me the film works just on so many levels. It’s scary and intense, but the best thing about it is with not a lot of screen time I really felt for the characters, they felt real, I cared if they lived or died, that with the fact that the film took chances and seemed old school made it a great movie experience.

Rating: 8.5/10

Weekend Box Office: Jan. 27-29th

Is Liam Neeson now like “the” action star of our times? Audiences might say yes as The Grey ripped it’s way to the top spot like a hungry wolf. The film took in $20 million over the weekend which is rather impressive. With films like Taken and Unknown doing very well, one can say that Liam Neeson is locking down the lead action role pretty well these days. The Grey is gaining a lot of good word of mouth and will see if the film can stick around a while before more big time movies come along.

Kate Beckinsale in leather is just as much of an attraction as Liam Neeson, the film in its second week of release brought in a juicy $12 million. Now mind you the 3D screenings add a little but of a boost. The new Katherine Heigl movie which is being destroyed by critics managed a third place showing with over $11 million.

The big surprise for me is Red Tails which in its second week is still sticking around. It made around $10 million over the weekend. The movie I found to be pretty bad, yet word of mouth might be strong for it. I mean it is an old school movie so maybe people who want to remember the good old days are coming out to see it.

Man on a Ledge I think didn’t advertise itself the right way(Giving most of its plot away in trailers) as it couldn’t step out over fourth place. It struggled to muster up $8 million. ┬áThat surprises me with the cast and it’s fun plot, maybe audience felt like they knew everything before going inside.

The rest of the list is pretty basic, Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close is doing well as it keeps expanding, same goes for The Descendants as it expands into more theaters nation wide. I wish they would do this for The Artist. To me I really do believe people around the country want to see these movies, not just in the big cities. Here is the light…

1. The Grey $20 million

2. Underworld: Awakening $12.5 million

3. One for the Money $11.8 million

4. Red Tails $10.4 million

5. Man on a Ledge $8.3 million

6. Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close $7.1 million

7. The Descendants $6.5 million

8. Contraband $6.5 million

9. Beauty and the Beast 3D $5.3 million

10. Haywire $4 million

The villain count for this movie is really starting to rise. We know Bane and Catwoman are in it. We know Liam Neeson’s Ra’s Al Ghul will at least be in a flash back. Now more rumors of other villains keep popping up around the internet. Insiders claim that Scarecrow has been seen on one of the sets. This wouldn’t surprise me Cillian Murphy did a great job in Batman Begins with the limited screen time he had. Then his one scene at the beginning of The Dark Knight really helped the film feel like a comic book movie. My question is would Scarecrow have a major part in the plot or again would just have a cameo? This is Nolan’s last Batman film and so throwing everything into the pot would make sense. It also seems clear that in the movie Bane looks like he wants to destroy the entire city. Why not get help from other super villains. Other rumors have said that another villain could show up. Now these are not as clear as the Scarecrow reports. The rumors have been all over the place, from Calender Man, which that one doesn’t make a lot of sense to me. I’ve also read that Two-Face would come back. Now I like the idea of that. My only problem with The Dark Knight… (SPOILERS)… I never liked that Two-Face died from the fall at the end. That didn’t work for me. So if they could go back and have it that they simply placed Two-Face in Arkham, I’d like that idea. But I have to admit if all of these characters are in the movie… Well Batman might only have like five minutes of screen time. So will see what happens.

Rumors a month ago stated Neeson would not be returning for Nolan’s third Batman film. Either claiming Ras Al Ghul would not return or that his schedule just didn’t allow him to. Well those rumors have been shot down. It seems Neeson just finished shooting for Dark Knight Rises where he is playing Ras Al Ghul again. Now this doesn’t exactly mean the villain will return to threaten Gotham with another plan involving a train. No most likely this scene he shot will be a flash back. It seems the plot of the film follows Ras’s daughter Talia who has taken the reigns of the League of Shadows and with the help of Bane plans to destroy Batman and Gotham. This is all good news and it shows that Nolan plans to pretty much wrap things up for this film. I for one am excited to see how this will all end.

Now that things are speeding up towards the filming of Nolan’s third Batman film the rumors keep flying. A huge rumor is that the lead villain actually won’t be Bane or Catwoman, but it would be Talia Al Ghul, the daughter of Ras Al Ghul who Neeson played in Batman Begins. It would make sense for the League of Shadows would return for Nolan’s last Batman film, it would wrap his story up nicely. So of course many fans were wondering if Neeson would return as Ras for a final show down with Bats. On many chat boards nerds have debated if Ras died in Batman Begins. Sure we watched as the train he was on fall off the tracks and crash into the ground, but many say you can see him leap from the train before it crashes. Also the character in the comic cheated death a number of times so many thought he would return. Well Neeson in an interview claimed he has not been approached to return, doesn’t mean he won’t, but I doubt Nolan would break his trend of keeping things somewhat based in the real world. Ras’s return would only happen if another man came up claiming to be him, since in Begins Ras claims many have taken the name to be leader of the Shadows.

Let me get this off my chest, I dug the first film, it was silly and corny and I dug it. Transformers does the same thing but mixed in too much pop culture and racism to make them very enjoyable. Now the sequel is coming down the road but will have a new director behind it. Now the finalists are a very weird mix of guys. First we got Jaume Collet Serra whose current film is getting a lot of praise with Liam Neeson in Unknown. Now that movie looks like a solid action flick so why not get a serious over the top action film. The next name is F Gary Gray, his last film being Law Abiding Citizen which I thought was really cool and ballsy. Then the third name is kind of out left field, John Chu who I don’t know much about. I’d say either of the first guys would be fine but in the end they need to find someone who can do over the top. The script is finished and written by the guys who did Zombieland so I’m sure the movie will at least be solid. Will see how this ends up.

I have to admit, I’m a bad Star Wars fan. I haven’t caught up on the Close Wars show. I catch episodes here and there, but I have not sat down and just watched a season. Still the show, even though corny at times has a lot of cool stuff in it. The action is top notch and the story lines seem strong. Now Liam Neeson is returning as Qui-Gon Jinn, only in voice of course but this news is so cool to me. Now since his character was killed in Episode I… Sorry spoiler I guess. He most likely returns as the Jedi ghost form, but this just proves something we all knew already: Liam Neeson is a cool dude. His new film Unknown, if it was anyone else, most people would write it off, with Neeson in it though most people I know seem pretty interested in the film. So this news confirms that I am checking that show out for sure.

I will start with this, I love Liam Neeson, he is one of my favorites. Many maybe didn’t really think about him until his film Taken exploded in the box office and became a super hit. The story of that movie is interesting, studio though it would bomb hard, so they pushed it around a while. The trailer with one single scene(Liam on the phone with the kidnapper) lead to that movie making trucks load of cash. Since then Liam has been in several movies. His role as Zeus in Clash of the Titans was fine, even though he was not used enough at all. He was on screen for a minute here and there, he’d yell and then the movie was over. So I hope with his return in the sequel means more screen time for him in his silver armor. His return shows the studio is serious about this series, they could have easily used different actors or just kept Sam Worthington. Instead they are bringing as many people back which gives me hope they want this to become a serious action series. The first film I thought was fun, messy in places but still very fun. It was one of the films that got damaged by the 3D conversion, everything looked boxy and blurry. So it’s much better on DVD. Still good to see Neeson getting jobs after the news he was not going to play Abe Lincoln is Spielberg’s biopic.