Friday, July 31, 2015

“Taken 3”

   I am an ardent fan of the cinematic arts. Although I have certain genre preferences, I don’t let that stifle my curiosity and close myself to different flavors of entertainment. That said...I am a huge fan of science fiction, super hero and action movies! Please visit my other blog The Boxed Office for reviews, exclusively, on these types of movies.

The Cast: 

   I’m a Liam Neeson fan…for sure. Like him in just about everything he does, but that said, he is limited to whatever script you put in front of him. I wish I could say his performance here was one of the best ever, but after the first two films, there is only so much I can put on Neeson. He certainly played his character well, it’s just that the range of the character was simply out of is control.

   Forrest Whitaker as been one of the greats for a long time now. In his role here as the main law enforcement official leading the hunt for Neeson, there is little room for development as this film is silly not that type of movie. I thunk he achieved what the filmmakers wanted to get across about his character….mainly that he was smarter than your average investigator and kept Neeson on his toes, but at the end of the day the performance was only as good as the script would allow.

   Famke Janssen and Dougray Scott had little impact on me in terms of their portrayal of their charatcers, and again…it had everything to do with the script (mostly). Scott seemed sinister to me from the beginning and so when he was revealed, it was not the revelation the film makers probably had in mind…and much of that was Scott (and the script little bit).

The Plot: 
   Bryan Mills is back again as it seems people just don’t get that he is not a guy to be messed with. This time he gets framed for a murder and has to go on the run from the very capable Franck Dotzler (Whitaker) while trying to solve the mystery of who the real murder is…and why.

   Franck Dotzler is tasked with bringing in Mills and understands that such a task is daunting given what he learns about Mills during his investigation (which is to say when you can find very little information on your suspect, he must be a badass).

   As Mills investigates, he begins to piece together the intricate web that has been weaved to snare him…and of course this means that bis family is one again in danger, and only he can adequately protect them by getting to the bad guys before they get to his family.

   What follows is a clash of close calls, unbelievable stunts, and classic, but predictable, one-liners that are absolutely expected, but not too appreciated.

The Verdict: 

   I really wanted to like this film more than I actually did. I even tried real hard to like it as much as the previous films, but there was just too much missing from it to leave that kind of impression.

   I think the script was lazy and left the film open to be too predictable with a character that was built on being anything but. There was a lot of action (more on that later) and not enough substance to that action to really carry any weight in the film.

   When you are doing a third film starring Neeson, the bar has to be raised and the film should strive to be better than the previous ones. When I see cars getting wrecked in one scene, then that same car not having a scratch in the very next frame…something is off…someone was lazy. When this happens over and over again (specifically when a Porsche slams into the landing gear of a jet)…it becomes too noticeable to ignore, and brings the quality of the film down.

   The fight scenes and use of combat knowledge was a continuance of what has already been shown, instead of an enhancement. I think the balI was dropped here on an opportunity to really make a film that stood out instead if a film that was just watchable because Neeson is doing what Neeson does. Films like this are usually my cup of tea, but this film had a sour taste to it and only dipped two and a half cinnamon sticks in my cup.

   If they have any plans on doing “Taken 4” all I can say is….”Good luck.”

Rating 2.5 / 5

Wednesday, July 29, 2015

An Innocent Observation


    So.…there I was having some Sunday brunch and enjoying good company when I took a moment to take in my surroundings. I’m usually a very observant person, often fancying myself as an amateur sleuth, in the vein of Sherlock Holmes or Batman. I think paying attention to details is a great way to gather information…or, in this case, entertainment.

   Firstly there was the couple sitting to the side and across from my table. I felt for the woman as she had no idea her date wasn’t really into her and would likely rather be in a train wreck than have to sit there through dessert. As clear as his body language was to me, was as oblivious she was to the actual situation. So bubbly and full of excitement, if she were sitting down to a test…she would lose points for spelling her own name wrong. I had no interest in watching this drama unfold…and it wouldn’t get to the good part anyway until long after the meal was over and they were on their way.

   Next was the quartet…just entering the scene and being seated in the far corner. A man with three women. Call it the Curious George in me…but in what situation does one man go out with three women (three gorgeous women) and act like he is special to all of them? Maybe I watch too much television or just think wrongly, but none of them struck me as associating for business (clandestine or otherwise) and all of them struck me as happy. Perhaps it was just the guy in me to think what I was thinking…after all, they could have all been related and he was just the gentlemanly type.

   Anyway…after seating “his” women down, he went to pull out his own chair and couldn’t because a stroller was blocking the way. He quietly asked the man seated at the table next to him to move it…which brings me to my final and most perplexingly entertaining observation of that day.

   As the man moved the stroller to the other side of his own table, I took an inventory of the cast seated with him and could not identify anyone at the table in need of a stroller. I say “in need” because generally a stroller is used for someone of such an early age that they have not yet mastered the art of putting one foot in front of the other…or have not mastered it to such a degree as to be practical for traveling with others well versed in the technique.

      Here again was an opportunity to use my deductive reasoning…and I did. I settled on the youngest member of the party, a boy around the age of five or six. Perhaps I was too generous and he was really four…but I think his age was far less important than his actual ability. I say “ability” because the way this boy was jumping around with such precision and complexity, displaying agility bordering on superhuman…I dubbed him “Young Peter Parker.”

   As I watched this display worthy of Barnum and Bailey’s attention, I just could not bring myself to believe that the stroller was actually for him. What reasonable person would put Spider-Man in a stroller?

      When they concluded their meal, I was very eager to have my suspicions confirmed (even though there was no other deduction to be made) and felt elation and awe at seeing the father ask Young Peter Parker to take his seat…in the stroller. Umm…really? After he sat down and the stroller began moving backwards and the whining began about wanting to go forward, I was pretty sure I knew the dynamics involved (add another spoiled child to the world). I mean…if he really wanted to go forward he could have easily executed a triple front somersault landing without so much as a sound on his way to web up some imagined bad guy.

   I’ve heard of people keeping children in strollers too long….but when your child is more agile and coordinated than you are, perhaps it’s time to make him walk…even when that is a downgrade from what he normally does. Just saying…