Olivier Megaton

Taken 2

Pierre Morel’s 2009 hit Taken was an unexpectedly pleasant surprise on several levels. It turned the 56-year-old Liam Neeson into a legitimate action star, it re-framed the idea of January being a dumping ground for Hollywood leftovers and best of all, it was damn entertaining in its ridiculous simplicity. Its box office take guaranteed a sequel, but what should have been a sure thing was instead kneecapped by co-writer/franchise-creator Luc Besson‘s decision to hand the reins to the awesomely named  but otherwise utterly incompetent Olivier Megaton. In the sequel, ex-CIA agent and current bodyguard Bryan Mills (Neeson) finally has the relationship with his daughter Kim (Maggie Grace) and ex-wife Lenore (Famke Janssen) that he’s so desperately craved. An upcoming protection gig in Istanbul seems like the ideal locale for a “family” vacation so the ladies surprise Mills after his assignment for some Turkish R&R. But they’re not the only members of the surprise committee.

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Taken 2

The thesis statement of Taken 2 seems to hold that once you’ve dipped your toe into the criminal world, you’ve entered a murky swamp with an undercurrent that’s just going to keep pulling you deeper down into depravity. When Liam Neeson’s daughter got snatched up by kidnappers in the first Taken, he didn’t handle things by going to the proper authorities, he handled them by tracking the kidnappers down and brutally murdering them one at a time until he got her back. If you’ll remember, it was completely awesome. But it turns out all of those people he killed had families – criminal families – and now they’re out for revenge. In this trailer for Olivier Megaton’s Taken 2, it’s not just the daughter that gets taken, it’s the entire family. So Neeson is going to have to fight extra hard, he’s going to have to dig deep into his cache of skills, and he’s going to have to be as steadfastly brutal as he’s ever been on film before…because he’s got a whole lot of people to kill.

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Taken 2

Why would this family go on vacation to Eastern Europe? Why? Why do it? After your daughter was kidnapped, forced to wear a glittery bikini and stood minutes away from being sold into a harem, why would you not bed down in the exact center of the United States (Lebanon, Kansas by the way) and resume life as quietly as possible? The new trailer for Taken 2 raises this important question, but it also continues to prove that Liam Neeson is a badass not to be trifled with. The opening sequence is perfect, taking on the perspective of the sex trade mafia as Bryan Mills has become somewhat of a legend that needs to be taken out. And take him out, they shall. Or at least they’ll try. Check out the trailer for yourself as you ponder why Maggie Grace is pretending to be 14 years old when her character is at least 20.

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These days we kind of take it for granted that Liam Neeson is the biggest badass on the planet. But, once upon a time, he was just a budding action star, an actor making a transition from the dramatic roles of his youth to the more throat-punching direction his career has taken recently. Then Taken happened, and suddenly he became the biggest action star on the planet. That modestly budgeted actioner took in $226m worldwide, becoming such a surprise hit that we now find ourselves in the position of eagerly awaiting the sequel. This week, “Entertainment Weekly” is taking advantage of the anticipation by debuting a few stills from the movie, as well as having a little chat with Neeson about what danger his character is going to face this time around. When asked about how Taken 2 ties in to the end of the first film, Neeson explained, “The action is supposed to take place about a year or a year and a half after the first story. It’s a very clever sequel with the usual thrills and spills, but the ante is upped quite a bit in this one.”

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This week, Fat Guy Kevin Carr moved into an old, creepy house with the wife of an uber-famous movie star. But then she started hearing voices in the walls, so he bailed on that noise and found a new main squeeze. She turned out to be a full-blown psychotic assassin bent on revenge and blood. The plus side is that she was the spitting image of Zoe Saldana, so Kevin thought it might be worth the risk. This, of course, did not end well, but he considered himself lucky because he didn’t have to sit through Our Idiot Brother. Oh, and apparently Transformers: The Dark of the Moon is returning to IMAX screens… but does anyone care about that at all?

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In the genre of revenge thrillers, neither the French nor the South Americans are slouches. For decades, both cultures have produced countless bloody bonanzas that have been tinted yellow, untethered by conventional decency and piled upon with empty bullet casings. So what happens when two Frenchmen — uber producer Luc Besson and appropriately named action director Olivier Megaton — make a film about a South American killer hell bent on revenge starring Zoe Saldana, one of the most effortlessly sexy people on the planet? Somehow it all goes terrible wrong. It has the tint, the bullet casings and the motive, but Colombiana doesn’t feel so free — it conforms to a PG-13 world, which sort of takes the fun out of the whole experience.

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After getting my hair blown back by all the awesome old man violence in the first Taken, I’ve been following the development of the sequel pretty closely. The idea of making a sequel to a film where a guy’s daughter gets kidnapped is a tricky one. What do you do, have her get kidnapped again? Have somebody else in the family get kidnapped? It’s pretty easy with a concept like this to get into ridiculous, “how does the same thing happen to the same guy twice” territory. But as long as they don’t dwell on the improbabilities and instead just focus on Liam Neeson brutally exacting his vengeance on bad guys, I don’t really mind. When Neeson first started talking about a sequel to Taken, I cheered. When it was announced that the film had found itself a director, I was cautiously optimistic. And now that word has come down the pipe that shooting will start soon, I’m officially getting excited. Producer Luc Besson had a chat with Coming Soon, and revealed that new director Olivier Megaton had been spending some time on a recent trip to LA to begin scouting for the film, that shooting would most likely begin in October, and that the entire cast of the first film would be back for the sequel. Wait. didn’t Liam Neeson kill everyone in the first movie? No, apparently Famke Janssen played his wife and she’ll be returning. I must have missed that while I was concentrating on all the […]

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There was something about Taken that audiences just responded to. I don’t know what it was, but I felt it too. For some reason we were all just ready to see Liam Neeson go completely badass and mess some people up. The guy may be in his 50s, but when he told those guys that he had the set of skills necessary to take them out in that trailer, we all believed it. So I went to see the thing, and I sat there, not expecting much, yet inexplicably drawn to the film. For the first 30 minutes I was pretty bored and upset that I had been sucked in by the ad campaign. And then his daughter got taken, and for the rest of the runtime the movie was pure, brutal ass-kickery. And I’m not talking about the flippy, dancy, show-off type ass kicking that we get in most movies these days. Liam Neeson was a bone breaking, tooth and nail, creepy psycho. It was very satisfying to watch, and the movie ended up making a ton of money. So, guess what, bad news for Liam Neeson… somebody in his life is going to be taken again! Can you believe it? Or maybe there will be a twist and this time Neeson will be the one who gets taken. Either way, Taken 2 is looking like it’s going to happen. Neeson seems to be on board, Luc Besson is going to write again, and they’ve found a director. This […]

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Consider this the news of the day. It is an equation that would put together producer Luc Besson, insane director Olivier Megaton (Transporter 3) and the world’s foremost badass lady, Zoe Saldana, together in a project full of bullets.

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Jason Statham in Transporter 3

Nothing says adrenaline-filled like Jason Statham as Frank Martin, driving fast and kicking the hell out of groups of bad guys at a time. And in Transporter 3, he will be looking to do much of the same.

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Transporter 3 French Logo

Jason Statham is back as Frank Martin, the driver with a very particular affinity for driving Audis, solving diabolical plots and using household objects to beat the piss out of bad guys, handfuls at a time.

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