Taken (France, 2008)
Directed by Pierre Morel
Starring Liam Neeson, Maggie Grace, Famke Janssen, Xander Berkeley
In my review of Unknown 18 months ago, I spoke about how actors can often have a second, very different career after their initial fame or recognition has passed. In addition to the examples I listed in that review, along with all of John Travolta's comebacks, we can now add Liam Neeson to the list of actors whose later career is taking a very different shape to the roles which made him famous.
Blade Runner, recreating the shot with none of the intrigue or patience. The interpreter who appears very briefly is a straight lift from the Sherlock Holmes story 'The Greek Interpreter', being a character who is asked to interpret without knowing where he is, what he is doing or why. The death scene involving the bulldozer is essentially a reworking of the ridiculous surfboard death in Lethal Weapon 2, and the recurring mention of "good luck" is a clunking and ineffective nod to The Great Escape.
Tintin comic. But the French are also slandered, with the main French character being cowardly, corrupt and never more than a few yards from either wine or a baguette.
Raiders of the Lost Ark. The difference, however, is that Raiders doesn't play the Nazis' race for laughs: Indiana Jones could be punching hundreds of bad Americans out and it would still be awesome. Taken actively relies on the foreign nature of its bad guys, using racial stereotypes to reinforce its protagonist in the absence of any more developed story or characterisations.
Reservoir Dogs: it leaves a really nasty taste in the mouth and goes somewhere to alienating our protagonist.
Mulholland Drive, but without any of the intelligence, the intrigue or the mystery. Having already lost its audience, the film proves that it doesn't have an original bone in its body, being in every way, shape or form the product of a hack.