MOVIE REVIEW: TAKEN 3 (Olivier Megaton, 2014)

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SPOILER ALERT!!

My notes on Taken 3:

1. I think the first Taken movie was an instant favorite of daughters everywhere. I’m sure it made them feel safe knowing the extent that their fathers would do to show their love for them. Consider it an action-packed version of Father of the Bride.

2. In this third movie, Liam Neeson displayed his love for his daughter by giving her a giant panda on her birthday. Her survival was more of an after-thought and everything else was just to save his reputation.

3. For the most part, this was actually a lame-brained version of The Fugitive. There was even a tunnel scene here reminiscent of that movie (homage?). All it needed was a one-armed man.

4. Speaking of the villain, it was hard to take him seriously with that Dumb and Dumber bowl cut. In one scene, he fought in his tighty-whities and his bulge (that would put Justin Bieber’s photoshopped Calvin Klein ads to shame) just proved to be a distraction. To some women, I mean.

5. Neeson’s character was asked, “Why do you have to be so honorable?” And therein lay my biggest problem with the entire movie.

In the first two, all the violence was driven by his agenda to save his daughter and wife. Here, he resorted to all kinds of violence even involving innocent people just to prove his own innocence.

One scene showed him causing a stampede in a college (really??). Why did he have to consider himself above the law when a simple trial would have proven his innocence? I just kept thinking, “Anong ipinaglalaban mo?”

6. Olivier Megaton also directed Transporter 3. His idea of an action sequence was to show the exact same scene of a flying truck container from five different angles. This could very well have been directed by Francis Jun Posadas.

7. Why was the MTRCB so strict when it came to sexuality but very lenient with violence? This movie where people got shot by all kinds of guns in all areas of the body just merited a Parental Guidance. Seriously, a PG-rating for excessive violence? Watching this with a kid a few rows behind me actually made me feel uncomfortable.

8. Whatever happened to Dougray Scott’s career? Ever since he passed on the role of Wolverine in the first X-Men movie, he hadn’t done anything significant to launch himself as a leading man. Unless you count his role as Teri Hatcher’s boyfriend in Desperate Housewives.

9. A lot of scenes here didn’t make any sense to me. He made his (pregnant) daughter drink a potion to make her nauseous when he could have just asked her to meet in the school bathroom at a specific time. In another scene, he used a defibrillator to attack henchmen just for the cool concept of seeing someone getting attacked with a defibrillator. And where did he get that anyway? Yet in another, he rammed his vehicle on the wheels of a plane that was about to take off even if his daughter who he was trying to save in the first place was onboard. Oh, and Forrest Whitaker (in the Tommy Lee Jones role) announced in the end that he knew that Neeson was innocent from the start because of his Warm Bagel Theory. So why did they go through all that goose chase? Oh, then we wouldn’t have a movie. Don’t bother.

10. Wait, who got taken??

Rating: ★★☆☆☆

(Originally published January 18, 2015.)

MOVIE REVIEW: ZOOLANDER 2 (Ben Stiller, 2016)

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My notes on Zoolander 2:

1. The original Zoolander was a clever comedy that tried to stretch its Blue Steel joke for an hour and succeeded. It was a brutal satire on the fashion industry that was really meant to be dumb and offensive.

This sequel was the movie equivalent of reheated leftover pizza. It was the exact same pizza with the exact same toppings, only not as good compared to when it was freshly-delivered. No amount of extra hot sauce cameos could make it any less stale.

2. Why do a lot of people still hate Justin Bieber? I always tried to separate his private life from his music so I ended up getting really addicted with his newest album Purpose (I listened to it once or twice a day, and by once or twice I meant maybe a couple of hundred times). People actually cheered when he got killed with a million bullets during the opening sequence and I didn’t find it funny. I mean seriously, that scene wasn’t even remotely funny (just like the remaining hour and thirty minutes of the movie). And where were his bodyguards anyway? Didn’t they usually end up on TMZ for treating him like a baby?

3. Sample juvenile joke:

“Jack Ryan and Jack Reacher. Tonight will be a total jack-off!”

The two horny teens in front of me laughed their asses off.

4. Aside from the Bieber cameo, there were tons of celebrities (Susan Sarandon, Billy Zane, Katy Perry, Ariana Grande, Sting, Susan Boyle, John Malkovich) and fashion luminaries (Alexander Wang, Naomi Campbell, Kate Moss) that also showed up, proving that Ben Stiller was still an A-list star after the disastrous Night at the Museum sequel (hey, maybe he should avoid these sequels, especially a possible The Watch 2 ugh!). I may never be able to look at Kiefer Sutherland and think Jack Bauer ever again, except with a pet goat and a sumo wrestler.

The best cameo, though, was by Benedict Cumberbatch who played the androgynous supermodel All whose mantra “All is All” was directly lifted from the original Queen of Philippine Music Anna Dizon is Anna Dizon.

5. The movie was at its best taking potshots at the fashion industry and calling Anna Wintour the White Witch of Narnia, shaming Tommy Hilfiger as White Privilege, and mocking Marc by Marc Jacobs. Was it completely mean? Yes, but still hilarious (besides, these personalities were all game).

6. In one scene, Valentina (played by the eternally gorgeous Penelope Cruz) said, “Please accept my apologies”, and Zoolander replied with, “None taken”. It was the type of senseless humor that we should have gotten more of here. Anyway, apology accepted and no offense taken, but no more Zoolander 3, please!

Rating: ★★☆☆☆