Review: Taken 2 (2012)

Taken 2 Poster

“I have to find them… and bring your mom back. And then I have to make sure these people never bother us again in our lives.”
– Bryan Mills

I actually wanted to watch this right after I finished the first one, and did not realize that so much time had passed in between my two viewings. I did not expect greatness from this, but damn, maybe a bit more than we got?

Retired CIA Agent Bryan Mills (Liam Neeson) continues his life since saving his daughter, Kim’s (Maggie Grace), life. His ex-wife, Lenore (Famke Janssen) and her husband, Stuart (Xander Berkeley), are pretty much through with one another since what happened when Kim was almost trafficked. Bryan steps in, trying to comfort Lenore as well as get Kim’s life together so she can get her license. He is unimpressed to learn that Kim has a boyfriend, Jamie (Luke Grimes). What he does not know, however, is that he is a wanted man after all the slayings he inflicted when looking for Kim. The families cry for vengeance, and are led by Murad Krasniqi (Rade Sherbedzija), the father of the man Bryan strapped to a chair and electrocuted.

Payback is a bitch

Lenore is upset when Stuart cancels their trip to China for Kim’s spring break, and Bryan offers that they come and stay in Istanbul with him after he has finished a job. They arrive before he decides to pack up and leave, surprising him. He is so thrilled. Soon, Kim starts playing matchmaker between her parents. On their way out one day, Kim says she will not be joining her folks. They leave together, laughing about how it will be, when Bryan notices a car tailing them. He gets Lenore out, but despite all his efforts, he and his ex-wife are taken. Bryan informs Kim of this via the phone just before it all happens, and urges her to seek safety. After all the slayings to save his daughter, this would have had to happen at some stage I guess…

Rocking that stick
Apparently rocking that stick

Kim becomes instrumental in helping Bryan escape from the people, as well as retrieving her mother. Bryan’s best friend, Sam (Leland Orser), who helped plan the surprise for Bryan with Lenore, needs to step up again and see how he can be of assistance to Bryan, but is not the most elemental in the plot. Bryan’s training kicks in full on and he starts devising an escape, even if the plan is rudimentary at best. Bryan needs to learn to not be so overly protective of Kim, and she becomes his greatest help. They need to recover their family and return home to safety as soon as possible.

Will Bryan be able to protect his daughter as well as recover his wife with minimal damage? How will he get rid of the Albanian gang if they are so intent on revenge?

With long teeth I am going to give Taken 2 a 4/10. I mean, I knew there was no ways it was going to be as good as the first (sequels rarely are), but I really expected a bit more than this. I don’t know, all of it was a bit wooden. Liam Neeson was, as always, great, but the rest of the movie did not really flow (even with him!). Not the dialogue, not the acting, and the story left a lot to be desired. Not even the action sequences helped this movie out at all. I don’t know, Taken was fantastic, and there was a lot of hype surrounding it, and there must have been much higher expectations for this one, but Luc Besson let us down, and could not live up to his predecessor. I hated how his daughter battled to drive an automatic back in the States but can suddenly rock a manual as if she at the very least has a defensive/advanced driving course under her belt. Pfffff. I could not buy into that logic, sorry. So no, this movie is actually one that you can go without seeing.

Review: All The Boys Love Mandy Lane (2006)

all the boys love mandy lane poster

“There she is boys, Mandy Lane. Untouched, pure. Since the dawn of junior year men have tried to possess her, and to date all have failed. Some have even died in their reckless pursuit of this angel.”
– Red

This weekend seemed doomed to be a bad movie weekend… maybe that is why I ended up watching more series than anything. Damn.

All The Boys Love Mandy Lane tells us the story of Mandy Lane (Amber Heard), a high school girl who got really hot over the summer vacation, and is rapidly moving up the high school food chain because of it. She and her best friend, Emmet (Michael Welsch), attend a party that she is invited to. She is shy, sitting aside, and Emmet gets into an argument with the host, Dylan (Adam Powell). They end up on the roof. Emmet taunts Dylan, telling him he will never score with Mandy, there are too many guys, and he is just like the rest. In an attempt to set himself apart from the rest, Dylan wants to jump from the roof into the pool. He has done it a million times before, but not when he has been drinking. Emmet convinces Dylan, and he jumps, cracking his skull open on the pool ledge and dying. Emmet bears the brunt of Dylan’s death.

all the boys love mandy lane joint

Mandy and Emmet drift apart, and he becomes the spurned ex-best friend, and Mandy has a new group of friends that emerge, of cheerleaders, fakers, jocks and stoners. Red (Aaron Himmelstein) is planning a weekend getaway at his family ranch, and really wants Mandy to come. He employs the help of Chloe (Whitney Able), who manages to convince Mandy to ask her aunt if she can come with. Bird (Edwin Hodge), Jake (Luke Grimes) and Red all have it out to see who is going to score with Mandy first, and they all lay their moves on thick. It is evident that Mandy is not interested in any of them, and Chloe and Marlin (Melissa Prince) are reasonably jealous by the open coveting going on for Mandy Lane.

all the boys love mandy lane running

At the ranch, they are met by Garth (Anson Mount). He is the ranch hand, and also ex-military. He takes the teens up to the house, and he, too, is reeled in by Mandy’s extraordinary beauty and innocence. The kids party up hard, drinking stolen beer, hard liquor and smoking tons of dope. They go swimming in the lake and exploring the ranch, and progressively get more wasted. Mandy does not join in on all their celebratory activities, but does drink a little with them. However, as the night progresses, things start happening, and they start dying off one by one. It seems Emmet is on a payback mission, and intent on eliminating all those that stand between him and Mandy. Garth tries to unsuccessfully protect all of them, but wants to save Mandy at the very least. Being ex-military, he may be their only shot.

I give All The Boys Love Mandy Lane a 5.5/10. The movie didn’t go anywhere fast, and the premise was a little weak. There was zero character development, and most of the movie was dedicated to watching a bunch of teens getting drunk, high and overly touchy with one another. Typical teen movie. The horror was not terrifying, and I was not once really drawn into anything in the movie. Nothing original, nothing new. The end didn’t even come out of nowhere and kick me in the teeth. Everyone was far too calm, and too stoned, and too wasted and too slow. Things could really have been put together far better than they were. The movie is alright to put on if you have nothing else, or to have on in the background, but not really a traditional horror, or even slasher for that matter. Overall, a rather weak and flaky movie. I got a trailer, but excuse the quality of the preview, it seems to be the clearest one that I could find.