Tag Archives: Famke Janssen

Old Movie Review: Taken 2 (2012)

I enjoyed the original “Taken” movie when it first came out, so, a friend and I thought we’d take a gander at the sequel “Taken 2.” It stars Liam Neeson, Famke Janssen, and a few other actors and actresses I’m not familiar with. Liam Neeson plays Bryan Mills, a retired CIA operative, and Famke Janssen plays Mills’ ex-wife, Lenore. They have a daughter, Kim, (played by Maggie Grace).


The movie begins slowly. Bryan arrives at Lenore’s house to give Kim a driving lesson. But she’s at her boyfriend’s. This section of the movie serves only to play up Bryan’s aspect as being overprotective (he has a background check done on the boyfriend) and to establish that the main players are leading relatively normal lives in the good old USA. Then, Bryan goes to Istanbul where he has a security job for three days. Lenore and Kim join him after he is done; it is meant as a kind of gift to Lenore who is in the midst of a very nasty divorce. Of course, that’s when things go wrong.


In the preceding movie, “Taken,” Bryan wiped out a whole slew of bad guys; it was a ring of criminals who had abducted his daughter with the intent to sell her as a sex slave. Of course, it is an unwritten rule of nature: If you kill somebody, regardless of the reason, someone somewhere else will be upset. In this case, the dead criminals come from a family of criminals, who are now quite irked at Bryan and are intent on evening the score. They set out to Istanbul to do so. They kidnap Bryan and Lenore, and almost do the same to Kim. And then, the real fun begins. There is a lot of killing and violence. Bryan proves himself to be one of the deadliest people alive as he wades through bad guys like a scythe through wheat.


Strengths: well, this was a hardcore action movie, with lots of death and hand to hand combat. If you like that stuff, you’ll probably like this movie. For what it was, it was decent. The storyline held together well. The acting was pretty good. And there were no looming plot holes. Weaknesses: in my opinion, this movie was made simply to make more money from the “Taken” concept. It was very short, 92 minutes, and even the storyline seemed to be a kind of straight line from point A (kidnapping) to point B (relentless slaughter of everybody), with very few perturbations from the path. There were no twists or turns; the whole point of the movie seemed to be just an emphasis on Bryan’s skills. He handled the bad guys with relative ease.


In the end, I’ll give this movie three and a half out of five stars.

Movie Review: Hansel and Gretel: Witch Hunters

I’m sure most of us have been exposed to the story of Hansel and Gretel at some point in our lives: the movie “Hansel and Gretel: Witch Hunters” builds on the original fairy tale by following the adventures of the brother and sister as adults. They have grown into, not surprisingly, witch hunters, bent on revenge for the wrongs done to them in that old house made of candy (yes, the candy house is in the movie). They have grown into the foremost experts on hunting down and killing witches. In the movie, Jeremy Renner plays Hansel; Gemma Arterton plays Gretel, and Famke Janssen plays the evil Grand Witch, Muriel. Don’t worry. There’s also a good witch, Mina, played by Pihla Viitala.


The plot is pretty basic. A witch epidemic is plaguing a certain town in the woods. A large number of children (twelve to be exact) have disappeared, supposedly because they were abducted by witches. Hansel and Gretel must track the children down and rescue them before the Blood Moon—a special moon that occurs when the moon is eclipsed turning it red; at such a time, the witches’ powers are at their highest, and they have a predilection to perform strange, barbaric rites and rituals, including—you guessed it—the slaughter of innocent children. It’s up to Hansel and Gretel with the aid of Mina, their new sidekick, Ben, and even a large, very powerful troll named Edward, to stop them.


Highs and lows? There really weren’t many highs. It was an okay action/fantasy movie with a few clever/cheesy one-liners here and there. I will give them credit for making the movie “R” instead of “PG-13.” Make the cut-off decisive so that no one foolishly thinks they should bring along young children to this “enchanting retelling of a classic.” Thank you. Not like “Red Riding Hood” from a few years back. As for lows, nothing really sticks out by itself, but the whole movie consisted largely of fist-fighting, gun-shooting, and spell-blasting—lots of violence. There was one gratuitous nude scene and some swearing as well. Hence, the R rating. The plot was okay. I walked away wishing they had focused more on the mystery surrounding the children—it’s not that they didn’t explain it, they did; I just felt it had more potential than what they delivered to us. It had the chance to be a good mystery movie too, but they went the way of action-flick. Which is okay, I guess.


Anyway, I’ll give the movie three stars out of five.