Monday, June 22, 2009

My Mind Taken By Aliens

I couldn't help but think, while Liam Neeson was casually dispatching yet another "bad" guy in Taken, the guy in the lift, of the multiple ironies involved. Here's another security guard just doing his job and soon enough he's unnecessarily dead in yet another gruesome film-o-genic way. Hang on, isn't this exactly the part-time job Neeson's character was doing twenty minutes ago? Obviously the camaraderie for the fellow toilers in the field he evinced in the opening BBQ sequence doesn’t extend to foreign workers. Bang bang, shoot 'em up , karate chop, but America is not a big one on unionized labor is it?

And by shooting him in each shoulder, then in the legs, I couldn't help but wonder: isn't this six-packing such an Irish thing to do?

Body-count and car chases. That's this movie. Total mindless crap - cut AWAY from the fracking chase is what I was thinking... (and it was the only time I needed to think while watching it. Higher brain function not required on the voyage.)

Oh, gentle reader, I know you. You will all love it, no doubt. It's ENTERTAINING you will say. Sometimes one needs entertainment. Well fuck off. It is NOT entertaining to me. I prefer the highly cerebral movies like Dead Man, something by Jodorowsky, or maybe Predator and of course Aliens.

Actually, Taken's strength (yes, I did enjoy the bright lights and loud noises for a while - I'm only human, just as susceptible as the rest of you morons) and its weakness is that it is just another of those completely bullshit stereotyped action flicks which I love making fun of that actually have a sinister underpinning that no-one else seems to get the first time they watch it...

This is yet another movie whose ultimate but unstated aim is to reinforce American xenophobic paranoia by continually showing how foreigners, particularly Arabs of course, are evil, corrupt and heartless. And the one-man Irish-American bulletproof army goes in - because it's HIS DAUGHTER we're talking about - with a morality down as shallow as the "revenge = justice" level, packed with enough inane stupidity that any rational person would tear their brain out through their nose with a hooked knitting needle rather than think about the possibility of this being possible. What happened to the girl he rescued from the brothel? Where did he get an IV pack and "fluid" for infusion? In short it's the type of movie which does well at the box-office because it reinforces family values, like murder, and fortunately statistical evidence has proven that 98.5% of the movie watching public are fucking idiots.

Why is it a hit? Because it is fast food cinema, efficient at surging the Dopamine; exciting, high-octane, reptilian-brain food.


But hang on, what's with Liam's face? Has he been splurging on Preparation-H eye cream or -- SCOOP! -- is it that Liam Neeson has had the bags under his eyes done?

OMG HE'S HAD AESTHETIC SURGERY DONE! In the early scenes, I just couldn't look him in the robot-like face. What a wanker. Yes, yes, it's a major shame that his beautiful wife died, etc,…

But why the fuck do actors get this sort of vanity work done?* Do they think we're not going to notice? Do they think we are stupid? (Check stats quoted above.) Famous people should NOT LISTEN to their minders, to their publicity agents, to their stylists and mentors and advisers. There is not exception to this rule: men who have facial plastic surgery for aesthetic reasons deserve to have their skin peel off after a day or two in the sun - or whatever was the premise of the intensely chaotic Darkman, Sam Raimi's Neeson vehicle from nearly 20 years ago (also on the SQ film program).

End interlude


Taken. Phomn Penh-like curtain brothels on a construction site in Paris. Reality? I'll bet all the naïve little American girls are just queuing up to go to Paris after this one. Not.

Surely, thinks, the American French amity levels are going to be at an all time high after this movie as well. When you consider the terrible hit their friendship took after France told the USA (and Britain and Australia) not to be fucking idiots and sex up the "intelligence" data on a pretence to gain some tiny molehill of legitimacy for the incredibly stupid idea of invading Iraq back in 2003. Well, it turned out, 'someone' was mort wrong on that one, eh?

Well, what's a few "Je vous ai dit ainsi"s between friends?

And the biggest irony of all - Taken was written by Frenchman Luc Besson.


"I told you so" - French translation by Babelfish.


savannah said...

so, you didn[t like the movie, sugarpie? *snickering* xoxoxo

Unknown said...

Ironically, your remark about Liam being "done" reminded me of an interview with Keith Richards in GQ last year. When asked whether he regrets not using moisturizer in years past he says an emphatic "no". When asked if he'd consider using Botox he replies "You're lucky if you walk out of there alive." And he should know.

Michael McClung said...

Are you feeling better now?

expat@large said...

Sav: I got the buzz, ooh fun, scary, omg what next? just in like Saving Ryan's Privates, but I got the deconstructed message as well: It's alright to murder as many people as you like, so long as it's for family.

In SavPRiRyn - the deconstructed message was "don't take prisoners, kill them - that's the American Way".

Jay: yes he would, but did he? I think that like the previous Pope, Keef is actually an animatronic robot, going through a series of semi-actual guitar playing and limited grimacing programmed manouvres.

MM: No. Should I be? Get on with Chapter 2.

savannah said...

what happened to movies as escapist fare? i remember my mother talking about going to the movies for fun, not a message. i have to tell you, you so put me off seeing taken. xoxoxo

Unknown said...

Given that the interview started off with Keef's secretary pouring him a pint of Ketal One over ice I'd say animatronic is good definition.

expat@large said...

Jay: as I have no idea what Ketal One is, the joke is entriely lost on me. Oil? Oh the joke is found!

Sav: do we want to get into a discussion about the immensely personal nature of "entertainment"? There are I am sure many Harlequin Romance novels which are 'escapist fare' - perfect in their own way and popular beyond my comprehension. But they are not for me. Watch "Taken", watch whatever you want.

Aren't novels for "fun" too? Pynchon for kicks, Wallace for the heck of it, Beckett because he makes me laugh?

Isn't the skillful delivery of a "message" an important aspect of the entertainment value in a movie? It is for me. & isn't the fact that a particularly nasty message might be hidden within the "fun" aspects of a serious movie something to consider also?


savannah said...

happy birthday, sugar! xoxox

Momentary Madness said...

That’s exciting, my dopamine cells have been under a lot of stress lately.
You know we’ve only got 30/40 thousand dopaminergic neurons in all, so how long (with the loss 13% a year in adult life) can you be happy, never mind sane, when 70/80% go you’re so to speak gone.
Much more exciting to be taken by aliens, before the men in white coats.
So get it (Dopamine surge) while you can.
I should have just said Happy Birthday;-)

expat@large said...

Sav: thanks for, I think, the 3rd time today! You're nothing if not thorough!

MomMad: when, where with whomever dude. cheers

marke said...

Yeah, good point about the disposable 'bad' guys .... same jarring thing in 'The Shooter'... the powers that be send in a 24 man elite military team to clean up Wahlberg's character, and he of course casually dispatches them all without a qualm. The whole time we are aware of him mourning his dead comrade in arms, but he doesn't give a rat's about these other poor b's trying to do thier job.

Yet another crap movie, based on the assumption we are all morons.

Unknown said...

Ketel One is wodka.

Mark...the assumption is valid for much of the population based on my experiences.

expat@large said...

Mark: exactly my point.

And technically is THEY who are morons.

Jay: Ah. I need to drink around more.

Unknown said...

Sounds like a great movie. If you had liked it or considered it cerebral I would have stayed away.
The trouble heading the way of American film directors is that they are running out of bad guys.
First it was Indians (Cowboys and Indians)
Then Germans (Any war movie)
Then Japanese, and other Asians. (More war movies and Communists)
The Russians got a good going over. (all cold war spy movies)
A brief interlude with South Africans. (Lethal weapon x, "Diplomatic immunity".
Since they are all now friends or trying to rebuild relationships they have now turned to the Arabs. Although Arabs have been baddies for many years (Aladin - a Disney movie) they are the current favourite.

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