Showing posts with label reviews t. Show all posts
Showing posts with label reviews t. Show all posts

Sunday, January 20, 2013

Review: Taken & Taken 2

I'm taken by Taken, and Taken 2 too. The first one plays on every father's paranoia about his daughter's safety in this dark and cruel world. Imagine having to reluctantly agree to your 16-year-old daughter's parentless trip to Paris, only to have her kidnapped by human traffickers immediately after landing. But what if you're an ex-CIA operative with "a very special set of skills"? What would you do? Use your spy connections and razor sharp instincts to find your daughter, and your combat experience to shoot and karate-chop the living crap out of everyone who's responsible, of course. It's every father's wish-fulfilment fantasy. It's also a thrill to watch an improbably efficient, resourceful and lethal ex-spy go to work.

Taken 2 actually spoils Taken 1 if you haven't seen the first, because the poster instantly tells you that the hero survived the first movie; either that or you thought the sequel was about his twin brother. Of course it isn't, but you have to wonder... what are they going to do with the sequel; kidnap his daughter again? So they go with this premise that I thought was pretty clever - remember those people he killed in Part 1? Apparently, human trafficking is a family biz, and their dads and brothers and sons are not too happy with their kin dying in the hands of some American fellow. I couldn't understand the heavy Albanian accent during the funeral scene, so I just imagined them saying "at last we will reveal ourselves to the Jedi; at last we will have our revenge." It's our hero who gets taken this time, and his daughter does the rescuing. Great to see Liam Neeson rampaging against the backdrop of Istanbul.

Ludicrous but fun. Recommended.

Saturday, July 25, 2009

Review: Transformers - Revenge of the Fallen

Some time has passed since the events of the previous Transformers movie. After the defeat and death of Megatron, "transformers" from every corner of the universe, Autobots and Decepticons alike, started making their way to planet Earth en masse. The humans recruited the Autobots to hunt and destroy the Decepticon nuisance, while trying to keep their existence under wraps from the public. Things start to get more complicated when an ancient Decepticon who calls himself "The Fallen" appears, looking for a Decepticon weaponry long hidden somewhere on Earth that could potentially destroy the world.

Transformers 2, or Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen still possesses all the problems from its predecessor, and worse. The comedy that held up the entertainment factor of the first one has deteriorated in quality in the second. With lesser good laughs, the second movie leans more heavily on the other major aspects - action, acting and story - but there isn't a marked improvement on these either. The action is still a mess, no thanks to the convoluted designs of the robots, where it is still very difficult to make out the head from the feet, especially when the robots are on the move. The camera does not jerk around as much, but it's just a mild compromise. Shia LaBeouf is less goofy and more serious and heroic and dramatic, a development that shortchanges on his character's core appeal. Megan Fox had more to do in the first one despite being objectified as a sexual conquest for the hero. Here, she's just purely an object positioned here for maximum oogling satisfaction. Like Pirates of the Caribbean, Transformers 2 confuses plot convolution with sophistication, making a baffling mess out of what is simply a "Decepticons want to destroy the world" tale. And finally, the robots are still relegated to supporting duties when they're actually the real stars of the show.

But the thing that finally derails the movie are the two blatantly racist depiction of African Americans via two twin robot characters, who sport gold-capped teeth, cuss a lot, and act like sub-intelligent buffoons. There are so many ways to make these characters more endearing and likeable (they're the good guys after all), but the filmmakers just had to make them as obnoxious as possible. However, the real "icing" on this putrid cake is when they introduce fan favourite Transformer, the Devastator, a gargantuan and destructively powerful Decepticon that is actually a formation of several construction vehicle-themed Transformers, only to have his awesomeness crash down several notches by letting the twins almost nearly defeated him. - BMF

Directed by Michael Bay (Transformers, The Island) and written by Roberto Orci, Alex Kurtzman, (Transformers, Mission: Impossible 3, The Legend of Zorro) and Ehren Kruger(Blood and Chocolate, The Brothers Grimm). Stars Shia LaBeouf, Megan Fox, Josh Duhamel, Tyrese Gibson, John Turturro, Kevin Dunn, Julie White and Glenn Morshower. Voiced by Peter Cullen, Hugo Weaving, Tony Todd and Frank Welker.