Kevin: A trailer has just dropped for NBC’s new “Taken” series, and I can’t believe I wasn’t aware until just now that a “Taken” prequel series was even in the works. This new version apparently stars an actor from the show “Vikings” as a young Bryan Mills, years before his exploits guarding pop stars, shooting his friends’ wives in the arm, and occasionally rescuing family members from Middle Eastern sex slavery. Let’s take a look at the family friendly version of “Taken” coming in February (right after “The Voice”!):
So what do we all think about this? Let me start with a few things:
1) Is it bad that I’m not nearly as outraged by the idea of a sanitized network TV “Taken” series in the same way that I was about Fox’s “Lethal Weapon”?
2) Now that we are several years away from it, what is your opinion on the “Taken” franchise? Maybe I’m indifferent to this TV idea because the two sequels did their best to make us forget what we liked about the original.
3) It’s easy to forget how excited people were back in 2009 about the idea of Liam Neeson headlining his own badass Charles-Bronson-type revenge movie. I remember when CJ and Anthony saw the first one opening night in New York and we later ran into Jason Siegel at a bar, and all Siegel wanted to talk about was how awesome Neeson’s “special set of skills” speech was in the commercials.
4) One of my favorite parts of “Taken” was how everyone totally dismisses Liam’s worries about letting his daughter and her friend travel to Paris alone, and then within literally an hour after they land the daughter and friend are kidnapped by sex traffickers! If I’m Bryan Mills I’m never letting that go, I’m just going to end any argument by reminding everyone of that.
5) What is our opinion of the sequels? I’ve never seen most of the second one outside of the infamous scene where Liam has his daughter toss grenades out of her car around busy streets so he can get an idea of where she is. I’ve seen all of the third and all I remember is a chase scene on a freeway involving multiple cars in which I had no idea who was doing what at any given time. Also, Mills has to get his daughter alone and away from some cops guarding her, which he does by putting something in her yogurt that causes her run to the women’s room and puke, where he is waiting to pass her a message. I have no idea how that scene made it into the movie, but I can only assume that since these flicks originate from the Luc Besson factory, there was a miscommunication when the script was translated from French to English.
6) Speaking of Mills’ daughter Kim, I hate to bring this up but is there something wrong with her? In the original she is supposed to be 16 but she’s played by the then-25-year-old Maggie Grace, who had already been playing an adult for several seasons on “Lost,” and whose idea of being a teenager in this involves bouncing around a lot. It’s unclear how old Kim was supposed to be in “Taken 2,” but while Grace by that point was nearing 30 her character is still learning to drive. I assumed in “Taken 3” she’s in college – although let’s face it, this is Kim Mills we are talking about here so probably more like junior college – but the only time they show her on campus it’s in a hallway with a row of lockers, which seems more like high school to me. Also she’s pregnant. What I’m saying is maybe Kim had an accident that left her unable to mentally develop past the age of 16 even when she was well past the age of 30 as Grace was by “Taken 3.”
7) Finally, what is up with Bryan Mills’ three-movie-obsession with getting back together with his awful, ungrateful ex-wife? He is still pining for her at the beginning of “Taken” before proving to everyone what a resourceful badass he is compared to Famke Janssen’s rich but useless husband. That husband is out of the picture by “Taken 2,” but Mills still has to keep courting his ex with family trips to Turkey before again reminding everyone that he is a resourceful badass who any woman – especially one of a certain age like Famke – would be lucky to have. And yet by “Taken 3” she has apparently chosen to marry another rich guy, the obviously evil Dougray Scott from “Mission Impossible 2,” and Mills still holds a torch for her. Does anyone know a dude like this in real life? I feel like guys in movie are constantly trying to win back their ex-wives, and guys in reality are constantly trying to stay as far away from their exes as possible.
CJ: A couple of quick takes:
1) No. No no no. No.
2) They clearly wrote this whole script, realized it might not be good, and thought they’d milk a few dollars out of a fan base by changing the name from “The ____ist” to “Taken.” Kinda like that second “X-Files” movie, or “A Good Day to Die Hard.”
3) Bryan Mills was Irish. It sounds like he’s now American.
1) I really hope they continue to use the REM song in the trailer as the theme song to the show. Nothing gets me ready for some non-stop Trans-Siberian action quite as much as Michael Stipe singing a song I used play on repeat after I was dumped in the 8th grade.
2) So this is the plot? Bryan is on vacation with his sister when terrorists take over a train and kill her, but then he kills them, and peaks the interest of some super secret government agency that needs assassins with hearts of gold? Wasn’t that the plot to “Knight Rider”? Let’s get this man a talking car!
3) Whoever is playing Bryan Mills is not only a client of the Hair Club for Men, but he’s also the president. It looks like the director must have slapped shoe polish on the top of this guy’s head just before yelling “action”!
4) I don’t think this is as outrageous as the “Lethal Weapon” show because “Taken” is a relatively new franchise starring a 60-year-old man who somehow made the leap from Oscar Schindler to The Terminator.
5) I’ve never really thought all that highly of the franchise. I mean its fun to watch, but mostly I just found it repetitive and boring and I never for a minute have ever believed that I couldn’t beat the living shit out of Liam Neeson if I had to. That guy is frail! All the tough talk and whiskers in the world isn’t going to convince me otherwise. If I was one of these people terrorizing him in the movie I’d just park my car in a handicapped space and wait for him there. He’s sure to pull up soon enough!
Anthony: Okay … I’ve watched this trailer several times. I then tried watching it in reverse to see if it made more sense. Alas it did not. But watching our hero get magnetically pulled back into the van he was unexplainably running after made it funnier.
1) HE CAUSED HIS SISTER’S DEATH! Can we all agree that if he was just a big pussy like everyone else and just gets on the floor and shuts up, the bad guys probably get their money, or prisoner released, or whatever the hell they wanted and leave everyone on the train alive? But no … he’s gotta take on like five or six guys, and then who could have guessed, someone takes a brain slug home as a souvenir. Shocker! You’re no Steven Seagal asshole!
2) He got recruited in the hospital (after getting his sister killed) because he’s “wired” to protect people? Is he also wired to realize he’s the one who put them in danger in the first place? And Jennifer Beals has the nerve to use the “don’t let her death be in vain” line? Hey Bryan, you got her killed but at least you can possibly go get some other people killed now.
3) Maybe he did eventually kill all the bad guys, but if this was a Special Ops training exercise, doesn’t he get shown the exit after the person he came with gets a paintball to the face?
4) I really think the guy driving the van would have slowed down slightly if he was indeed looking for Bryan, as opposed to playing bumper pool with him and a parked car.
5) “Taken” was a masterpiece that made me cheer and marvel at how many well-rested trained guards could die on a yacht by the hands of a guy that just dropped off a bridge and hadn’t slept in 4 days.
6) “Taken 2” and 3 are pieces of trash that gave me motion sickness and made me marvel at how a girl could continue to run so awkwardly and not have skeletal abnormalities. Give the girl a glass of milk for the love of God Liam!