Add to Queue 88: Red Matter

Media | A2Q Archives | The Author on Twitter | A2Q #88 | May 12, 2009

[[image:090512_taken.jpg::right:0]]Here is an action movie for cinema post-Jason Bourne. Arnold, Sly, and Jean-Claude were fine in their day — but how awesome is it that our current action stars include names like Matt Damon, Liam Neeson, Christian Bale? Liam’s performance gives what could be a bog-standard “man tears up criminal underworld to avenge and/or rescue family member” action film some weight. Neeson plays Bryan Mills, an ex-spook who has retired to try and make up for the time he lost with his family while he was out doing secret agent stuff. While it might be too late to reconcile with his wife, Mills’ attempts to connect with his daughter are tender and heartwarming. He reluctantly agrees to sign off on her going overseas to France, and his worst fears are realized when she is kidnapped. Diving back into his old life, his contacts tell him that the people who likely have his daughter are notorious for selling women into sexual slavery. Hearing that, we hope that he was good at his job.

Turns out, he was really good at his job.

Mills’ in France, desperate to find his daughter, willing to tear the entire country down around him to achieve his objective is enthralling. Here is a man who will stop at nothing, who will not hesitate to burn any bridge, exploit any friendship, or break any rule in his quest. It is mesmerizing to watch. Any fan of what Matt Damon achieved in the character of Jason Bourne should not miss Liam Neeson’s darker take on the post-Bond secret agent in Taken.

If your significant other is a Blu-ray collector, this week might be a good one to hide the credit cards. Holy Crap.

Three more Bond movies, six Star Trek movies (with a starburst exclaiming that they feature “Kirk and Spock!”, proving just how much JJ Abrams has reinvigorated the franchise), two of my absolute favorite movies of all-time in the dark comedy Fargo and Sergio Leone’s classic western The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly, and quite a bit more.

While you can count me among the fans of the cult classic Donnie Darko (the theatrical cut, not the terrible Director’s Cut), I’m very skeptical of the “sequel”, S. Darko. At least they brought back the same actress to portray Donnie’s younger sister Samantha, Daveigh Chase (who likely scared the crap out of you as Samara in the US version of The Ring).

Speaking of unnecessary franchise extensions, the prequel Underworld: Rise of the Lycans portrays the events that led up to the first two Underworld movies. As these events are explained in the narrative of those movies, this movie is unnecessary in the most literal meaning of the term.

Comedy fans have a lot to choose from, with Big, Major League, Black Sheep,both Wayne’s World movies, There’s Something About Mary, and Without a Paddle all hitting BD this week.

Thanks for reading Add to Queue, GameSpite’s weekly round-up of US Blu-ray release highlights. Sorry, rest of the world; region locks are the industry’s way of saying they still don’t understand the Internet. Don’t you understand, Rachel? She never sleeps. Cover art courtesy of Amazon. Follow Levi Tinney on Twitter, or add him to your PSN or XBL friends list: VsRobot. You can also contact him via e-mail via levivsrobot [at] gmail [dot] com.

27 thoughts on “Add to Queue 88: Red Matter

  1. is this paid for by sony or do you get a fuzzy feeling when you buy shit? fulfillment via commerce! blu ray is DOA. the internet wins.

  2. The notion of there being any need to continue Donnie Darko past the original is ridiculous. It would be like making a sequel to American Beauty.

  3. Believe it or not, Rise of the Lycans is the best of the Underworld movies — because unlike the first two it’s not all about the director taking glamour shots of his wife. The second Underworld in particular is just awful (it somehow shifts the setting from Somewheresville, America, to Eastern Europe without any actual travel involved).

  4. I’ve seen all three Underworld movies, and liked none of them. I was surprised at the complete lack of surprise in Rise of the Lycans. It all happens exactly as the characters in the first two Underworld movies said it did. Did we really need to see any of it?

  5. That was a cogent synopsis of Taken, sir. But, you forgot the one aspect of the film that should not be missed: the daughter’s run. If that girl isn’t cast as the next Simple Jack, Hollywood fails. Best/Worst retart run EVER.

  6. Ah, thought you hadn’t seen them. There’s no surprise in the plotting, but the movie’s just plain better-made than the other two, IMO.

  7. Holy crap, Taken’s cover is awesome.

    Great flick over all, but the beginning sequence could have used some editing. Took too long for the bad-assery to begin.

  8. What’s that CSI release? While the “Directed by Quentin Tarantino!!!” special was… not special, the first five seasons are very much worth it, and a Blu-Ray treatment of Liquid Man, Good Ol’ Soapy, and the Amazing Bloat would be awesome.

  9. The CSI release is “The Complete First Season”.

    The third Bond film released is… apparently something I imagined. Sorry for the confusion!

  10. Taken was really good. I feel bad for Liam’s character because his movie daughter is such a selfish jerk who exploits him, but at least the pay off is seeing his Ra’s Al Ghul powers activate.

  11. Not a big fan of Taken. It felt very toned down from what it should have been. I’m surprised you didn’t like Darko’s Director’s Cut. I felt like it made so much more sense than the original cut, but I also haven’t seen the original since I rented it on VHS.

  12. “Believe it or not, Rise of the Lycans is the best of the Underworld movies — because unlike the first two it’s not all about the director taking glamour shots of his wife.” Yeah, I’ve always considered the Underworld movies to be nothing more than an excuse to put Kate Beckinsale in a leather catsuit.

    Not that I’m complaining – merely making an observation.

  13. I’m kinda surprised by the love for Taken. I thought that the action was great, but that the plot was far from it. Good late night on USA or TNT kind of movie.

  14. Eh, Kate beckinsale get really boring in those movies. Especially because she always has her mouth slightly open in this sort of “durrrrrrr” expression.

  15. A great introduction to Taken, Levi. You hit exactly what makes the movie work. Liam Neeson adds plenty of pathos to the film. …I so hope I used that word correctly.

  16. Watched Taken on your recommendation. I think you forgot to mention how completely laughably retarded it is.

  17. Taken is the ultimate Father Knows Best story. “Oh you want to go to Europe, do you? Within 30 MINUTES you will be kidnapped and sold into sexual slavery, spared from the worst of it ONLY if you keep your precious virginity intact so that you are sold to top bidders instead of dying drugged up and raped to hell in a dirty old trailer. Luckily, Daddy will come through for you just in the nick of time, and I hope you learned your lesson about wanting to travel the world!”

  18. My friend reviewed Taken on Amazon… it pretty much says everything I’d say about it:

    “Watch Man On Fire or The Brave One instead. This is a sad, sad attempt to capitalize on the revenge movie genre. At no point can this movie ever be taken seriously. The dialogue is laughably convenient with the subtlety of a sledge hammer. Neeson’s character is comically professional at what he does; remaining perfectly stone-faced and professional as his daughter is abducted and kidnapped. His character is beyond ridiculous and everything he says or does is utterly hilarious.

    The beginning of the movie is exceptionally artificial and transparent because every scene is so clearly and excuse to bluntly tell you something about his character. NONE of it feels natural, which is okay on a certain level but the movie tries to take itself seriously and that’s where it all falls apart.

    The acting is pretty bad overall, despite many of the actors being very good in other movies. This is a sign of bad directing and bad editing. It doesn’t feel like a finished movie. This is likely because the director’s previous movie was District B-13; an enjoyable action movie that is very short and in which 2/3 of movie is action. The problem comes when this director tries to make an action movie with drama and everything falls apart.

    Seeing a 60 year old man brutally beat up and shoot countless people, only made worse by the juvenile directing and editing, was the source of immense hilarity to my friends and I. I don’t know why Neeson doesn’t turn and wink at the camera spouting off lines like “[I’d sacrifice everything for her]” and “[I could follow you across Europe. I’m very good at not being seen].” Neeson’s attempt at the [Batman voice] was also hilarious; “WHERE’S MY DAUGHTER!” He’s way above this material but even his acting is crap. There’s 0 drama in this despite the constant attempts to force it down your throat. I just can’t believe this movie was written by Luc Besson. He has made excellent action films like Leon: The Professional, The Fifth Element, and Unleashed. It seems like a 12-year-old wrote this.

    Also, pretty much every time someone dies in the movie it’s so badly mishandled that it’s to the point of parody. The shots he uses and the context of many of these is hilarious. Like a truck coming out of nowhere and running over someone, or showing a guy look through a port hole only to have Neeson pop into frame quickly and shoot the guy in the face through the port hole. Or the part that takes the cake is when Neeson quickly stands up and shoots an innocent woman in the arm… FOR NO REASON! Maybe in another context many of these things could have felt more natural, shocking, or interesting but it’s all so hilarious here. I’m glad I didn’t see this in the theater because I would have likely been kicked out for laughing so hard.

    It’s and excellent choice for a comedy rental but no one should ever own this trash.”

  19. I just saw Taken once I realized it was out. As good as I thought it would be.

    Oh the haterade in this comments section

  20. @zen:

    How can your friend recommend The Brave One (Death Wish w/ Jodie Foster) or Man On Fire (Death Wish on PCP) over Taken? If these movies are bad, which I believe they are, they are as bad as Taken. He or she could have made better suggestions.

  21. Taken was so bad. Thankfully my friends and I were the only ones in the theater when it came out. We had our own Mystery Science Theater session right there, salvaging what would have been an incredibly boring waste of money otherwise.

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