Taken 2 is expected to shove aside all it's competitors at the Box Office when the kidnapping sequel hits cinemas over the weekend, with pre-release audience surveys suggesting that the action flick could take up to $45-50 million.
Liam Neeson returns to his role as a former CIA operative with a knack for kicking ass and taking names, only this time round it is Neeson's Bryan Mill character and his on-screen wife (played by Famke Janssen) who are taken hostage. The sequel was co-financed by Fox and writer/director/producer Luc Besson's Europa Corp for about $45 million, a sizeable increase compared to the last instalment. Still, if these estimates are anything to go by then the investment will be more than worth it.
The only major competition for Taken 2 comes in the form of two animated films, the Tim Burton's remake of Frankenweenie (a live-action short that Burton made in the early 80's) and the Adam Sandler starring Hotel Transylvania. Whilst Taken 2 will presumably take care of the adult audiences, it is up to the two spooky animations to do battle for the attention of the younger audiences, with Frankenweenie predicted to just edge past it's rival.
Liam Neeson returns as CIA agent Brian Mills in Taken 2. He’s already confirmed to MTV that there won’t be a Taken 3, as he “couldn't envisage a storyline that would warrant a sequel” but was there really a need for Taken 2? The first movie, which he describes as “a wonderful little compact European thriller,” told the tale of Mills attempting to rescue his daughter, who had been kidnapped.
Obviously, repeating that storyline would have been a little tiresome, so the writer / producer Luc Besson turned the tale on its head and this time around, it’s Mills himself who gets kidnapped. According to Neeson’s interview with The Guardian, Besson “propositioned a couple of ideas and came back with this scenario and I remember thinking ‘yeah, this could maybe work. It’s rooted in something real, you know?” Describing the premise of the Taken movies, Neeson explains “it’s a guy trying to be a father, albeit an overprotective one… 100% of his energy goes into that; suddenly he’s taken into the field.”
Unfortunately for Neeson and Besson, movie critics have not agreed with the need for another Taken movie. Time Out’s Tom Huddleston said “A cynical, contemptuous film whose sole reason for existing appears to be to squeeze the pockets of anyone who enjoyed the first movie. Don't give it the satisfaction.” Empire magazine agreed, saying “The first one offered the novel sight of Oskar Schindler going Commando. Unfortunately, this half-hearted sequel is low on novelty and lower on fun.”
Leila (Bekhti) is an outsider in her village, married to the suspiciously intelligent schoolteacher Sami (Bakri). And when she speaks out about the injustice, and danger, of women scaling a treacherous path every day to get water, everyone tells her to remain quiet. Eventually, she manages to convince the women to go on a "love strike", withholding sex until their husbands stop sitting around and get water piped into the village.
Continue reading: The Source Review
In 1911 Paris, Adele (Bourgoin) is a novelist who travels the world in search of adventures to write about. Her latest quest takes her to Egypt, where she uncovers a Pharaoh's tomb and sneaks off with his physician's mummy, who she plans to resurrect with help from her mad-scientist friend Esperandieu (Nercessian), all in an attempt to cure her badly injured twin sister (de Clermont). But the doctor's experimentation has brought to life a hatchling pterodactyl, which is now menacing Paris. Apparently surrounded by incompetents, Adele will have to fix everything herself.
Continue reading: The Extraordinary Adventures Of Adele Blanc-Sec Review
James (Rhys Meyers) is assistant to the American Ambassador to France (Durden) and is hoping to get involved in intelligence work. James' big break interrupts a romantic evening with his fiancee (Smutniak) as he's assigned to team up with notorious agent Charlie Wax (Travolta). The next 24 hours is a blur of bullets, bombs, cocaine, hookers and terrorists, while James just tries to keep up with Charlie's trail of carnage. And eventually he begins to see a method to Charlie's madness.
Continue reading: From Paris With Love Review
It's been three years since the super-fit cop Damien (Raffaelli) teamed up with the shady, athletic Leito (Belle) to bring the government to its knees.
Predictably, nothing has changed since then and in 2013, France's new president (Torreton) is convinced to take drastic actions against the violent thugs in District 13. Except that the whole scenario has been staged by the secret security service, led by the mysterious Gassman (Duval) and his top goon Roland (Mosconi), who try to do away with Damien and Leito (as if!), in order to enact their evil plan.
Continue reading: District 13: Ultimatum [banlieue 13: Ultimatum] Review
This is just one of the actions taken by Bryan Mills (Neeson) when he receives a call from his daughter (Maggie Grace) as she is being kidnapped by Albanian sex-traffickers while on vacation in France. An ex-CIA man, Mills uses a few decades worth of weapons knowledge, intelligence training, and fighting styles to basically purge France of any and all Albanian abducters to find his sugarplum and return her to the loving arms of his ex-wife (Famke Janssen) and her absurdly rich second husband (Xander Berkeley).
Continue reading: Taken Review
After retiring to an isolated life in France, driver for hire Frank Martin (Statham) believes his transporting days are over. But when a man he suggested as a replacement literally winds up in his living room, expensive sports car and all, our sullen hero finds himself back behind the wheel. His mission this time around? Deliver a package to the Ukraine, in time to stop a high ranking government official from cancelling a contract with some American energy interests. Seems the U.S. wants to use the former Soviet Union as a toxic waste dumping ground, and a concerned cabinet minister wants no part of the deal. Of course, when a Western thug (Robert Knepper) kidnaps his daughter Valentina (Natalya Rudakova) and holds her hostage, it's up to Martin to step in and save the day.
Continue reading: Transporter 3 Review
Along with the more personal documentary Breakfast with Hunter, Gonzo: The Life and Work of Dr. Hunter S. Thompson stands as a seminal work of talking head biography. It tracks down many of the important people in the Kentucky-born bad boy's life, and lets them wax poetic and profound for almost two hours. Within the reminiscences we learn of his initial love of writing, his time as part of the notorious outlaw motorcycle gang, his experiences with Ken Kesey and the Merry Pranksters, a run for sheriff of Aspen, Colorado, his eyewitness account of the 1968 Democratic Convention in Chicago, and his various run-ins and affiliations with members of both the counterculture and Establishment.
Continue reading: Gonzo: The Life And Work Of Dr. Hunter S. Thompson Review
For three years, a top Interpol agent (Dougray Scott) has been chasing an elusive, unknown assassin. When a Russian politician is murdered, the cop clearly suspects that Number 47 (Timothy Olyphant) has struck again. The paid killer is informed that a prostitute named Nika (Olga Kurylenko) witnessed the crime. He is ordered to take her out. Of course, it's all a setup. Belicoff (Ulrich Thomsen), the supposedly dead candidate, shows up for a speech, and the Russian Intelligence community is out rattling 47's cage. Our antihero saves Nika from a bullet, travels to Istanbul to interrogate Belicoff's drug running brother Udre (Henry Ian Cusik) and returns to the scene of the initial shooting to discover why he was framed. Turns out, it has more to do with one man's paranoia and ambitions than a simple contract hit -- and 47 is destined to play a part in it all.
Continue reading: Hitman Review
Leito (David Belle) has just stolen a mighty big amount of coke from Taha (Bibi Naceri) and is in the middle of disposing of it when he hears gunshots. It's Taha's trusty henchman, K2 (Tony D'Amario), dismissing Leito's bodyguards. Leito escapes his certain fate in the first of many acts of gymnastic fighting and running. In retaliation, Taha kidnaps Lola, Leito's little sister, and gets the cops to take in Leito. Six months later, Leito is released by undercover cop Damien (Cyril Raffaelli) to save District B13 when Taha stumbles on a test bomb that could wipe out everything in an 8km radius of where it lands. Together, they strike out to get the bomb and save Lola with their necks intact.
Continue reading: District B13 Review
Continue reading: Crimson Rivers 2: Angels Of The Apocalypse Review
The reason for this is simple. Unlike the rest of us, 13-year-old boys haven't yet developed an immunity to mindless spectacle. They haven't been around long enough to realize it's their job as moviegoers to cluck and fuss every time a director tries to pull one over on the audience. Instead of feeling cheated when implausible scenarios pile up and ridiculous actions beget even more ridiculous reactions, 13-year-old boys hoot in approval. The explosions, the fights, the hot chicks, that's enough for them. It's a good thing, too, because that's all The Transporter 2 has.
Continue reading: The Transporter 2 Review
We may never know the truth about Charlie. Demme fills his European vacation with endless lies fed to us by self-serving criminals. The result circles endlessly around a thin mystery that the director punches up with inspired visual tricks, though logic would have been preferred.
Continue reading: The Truth About Charlie Review
It's about time; Jet Li has not had much luck in his American movies. He functioned all too easily as a simple variable in the formulas that were Romeo Must Die and Cradle 2 the Grave; he was the innocent, honorable, kung fu master, mostly at the service of rappers. But his damaged character in Unleashed provides workable context for both Li's boyish reserve and his furious fists.
Continue reading: Unleashed Review
Continue reading: The Big Blue Review
Luc Besson, imaginative mind behind such notable works of art such as The Professional, La Femme Nikita, and The Big Blue, has created such a memorable mess of things with his newest release, The Messenger. A car crash of a movie headed straight for the Days of Heaven territory.
Continue reading: The Messenger: The Story Of Joan Of Arc Review
The DVD release of the original international version of Luc Besson's 1995 masterpiece The Professional, which is known as Léon around the world, is a prime example of how a good film can become an instant classic as a director's cut. For years, I have heard of an "international" version available only in laserdisc format, which has eluded me for years. I even bought a laserdisc player from my uncle Don for 100 bucks just to watch certain directors' cuts - including Léon. But after countless searches in laserdisc stores, I could never find it. Until now.
Continue reading: Léon (The Professional) Review
For the greater part of her time in the program, Nikita acts like the addict-in-withdrawal that she is, ignoring her trainers and pulling a gun on her handler, the incongruously-named Bob (Tchéky Karyo). Then, threatened with a couple of weeks to get her act together, the antiauthoritarian punk becomes the perfect student. Before we know it, three years have passed and she's ready for her graduation present - an assassination mission at a restaurant that turns into a guns-blazing melee. Like the film's pulse-pounding beginning, it's an impressive bit of mayhem, mostly for the incongruous sight of Nikita, in her chic black cocktail dress, scurrying through a kitchen, blasting away with a massive handgun at thugs packing assault rifles and grenade launchers. But, whereas the opening scenes were shocking in their amoral ferocity, this shootout - including a scene where Nikita dives down a laundry chute to escape a blossoming fireball - shows Nikita to be just another action movie, with the usual tenuous-at-best grip on reality.
Continue reading: La Femme Nikita Review
Jet Li -- one of the most popular stars in Asia rivaling Jackie Chan and Chow Yun-Fat -- has had an impressive string of over 25 films under his belt in his two decades of kung fu prowess and strong acting turns. But after two dismal attempts at winning over American audiences with a small villain role in Lethal Weapon 4 and the horrendous Joel Silver monstrosity Romeo Must Die, it was looking pretty grim for this mighty warrior. So, Li read the e-mails from his fans, taking their compliments and complaints via his web site.
Continue reading: Kiss Of The Dragon Review
What can I say about The Fifth Element that you haven't probably heard already? Not much, but I will say that The Fifth Element is a mess -- a mess of grand proportions, full of dazzling colors, lights, explosions, outfits, and... hairstyles. Designer John-Paul Gaultier's involvement with Luc Besson's creation (the most expensive French production ever) is well-known, as is Milla Jovovich's role as Leeloo, supposedly the most perfect being (but I wouldn't have pegged her as being so flaky).
Continue reading: The Fifth Element Review
The plot of The Transporter never extends beyond the borders of a video game story. Basically, if you need something - or someone - transported from one place to another, you drop a call to Ex-Special Forces operator Frank Martin (Jason Statham) and his "tricked-out" BMW to deliver the goods. But, remember - before you hire Mr. Frank for one of your mysterious and sometimes dangerous tasks - you must remember his three golden rules.
Continue reading: The Transporter Review
Date of birth
18th March, 1958
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