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I’ve Been Taken
Ian Shearer is a cinephile, philogynist (look it up) and all round badass. Called both a poet and priest, his blog Drunken Rumblings has won international critical acclaim, and aged 7 he received a gold star for comprehension. He lives in Belfast — Like This Is Not A Review on Facebook

People keep accosting me in the street to ask me why I haven’t been as prolific lately. I always say the same thing: what the fuck does prolific mean? The truth is, I’ve had enough of bitches for a while. I am currently taking a course in pimpology, in the hope that one day my life will not be dominated by rejection and lonesomeness, and masturbating over pictures of girls in polka dot dresses. The first lesson was to start calling all women ‘bitches’. The second lesson, apparently, is going to involve strengthening my pimp hand. I’m hoping the pimp hand is the right hand because I am hopeless with my left hand, for anything other than holding a pint, or masturbating over pictures of girls in polka dot dresses…

[Editor's Note: Please stop saying that.]

Whilst taking this course, though, I am abstaining from my usual quest for love. Actually, after lesson one I have learned that the quest is actually for ‘ass’, not love. So my quest for ass is temporarily on hold, until I have completely re-aligned my perceptions with regards to the fairer sex. I mean, bitches. So once again I am going to shit all over the most recent travesty I watched, Taken 2, and pretend like anyone gives a shit about what I have to say.

The first Taken was one of the most badass action movies I have seen in the past ten years. Liam Neeson played a retired special forces operative whose daughter is kidnapped in Europe. After placing the most awesome fucking phone call in cinema history…

…he goes on a one man murder rampage that makes Jason Bourne look like the Karate Kid. Among his myriad acts of murderous vengeance, he tortures a dude by tying him to a steel chair and then hooking it up to a plug socket. After getting the information he needs, though, he just leaves the fucking electricity on and lets the guy cook like that poor bastard in The Green Mile who Percy fucked over with a dry sponge. He also very calmly caps a dude’s wife in the shoulder, just to let the dude know that he means business. Let me just repeat that. The GOOD GUY shoots an INNOCENT WOMAN in the shoulder JUST TO HURRY ALONG A CONVERSATION. Now fast forward to 2012…

Before even seeing the film I noted that Liam’s exploits in this film have become more family friendly, earning a paltry 12A rating. Toning down violence to get a 12A rating is like a girl (I mean, bitch) getting a boob job to attract more guys. She probably will turn more heads, but anyone who actually gets to the point of motor-boating them will be sorely disappointed. Anyway, mark that red flag number one.

The first 20 minutes is exactly the same as the first 20 minutes of the first film.

[Editor's Note: Too many firsts dude.]

Which is in turns hilariously redundant and infuriatingly contrived. Hilarious redundancy: an almost exact replica of the scene in Taken where Liam has his ex-special forces buddies round for a barbeque and beers, wherein they discuss his latent feelings for his ex-wife (ex-bitch? I’ll have to ask the pimp-master about that one) Famke Janssen. The best part of this scene is the very end, when Liam says something like ‘Can’t we talk about basketball?’ and his mates all crack up. I mean one of these dudes just starts pissing himself, like he just saw the video of the iguana farting on Youtube. Redundant. Hilarious. And therefore forgiveable. Completely unforgivable though, is the part where Liam finds out his daughter has a boyfriend. I’m not even going to ask how an over-protective secret agent father could possibly miss the fact that his daughter has been dating a dude for three months, because I have bigger fish to fry. After tracking her down at her boyfriend’s house they have the obligatory ‘Dad, I’m a grown up, you have to let me have my independence,’ talk, which adds depth to the characters and their rela… BITCH, THE LAST TIME YOU CONVINCED THIS DUDE TO LET YOU BE INDEPENDENT YOU GOT KIDNAPPED AND SOLD INTO THE SEX TRADE. God fucking damn it.

Anyway, expert in espionage and counter terrorism that he is, Liam is unable to foresee a revenge attack by the friends and family of the numerous Albanian gangsters he murdered, so he invites his family to visit him in Turkey, of all places. When the revenge does come, it is not in the form of a simple assassination, but a kidnapping. Naturally, because if a dude did not ‘want him alive’, well, he just wouldn’t be a generic movie villain with a cool accent, would he? So Liam and Famke get snatched, but their daughter manages to evade capture. That’s lucky. Liam even has the good sense to carry a concealed phone. Even luckier. So he calls his daughter and tells her to go to the US Embassy where she will be safe, and will be able to send help for her parents, perhaps even in the form of Liam’s barbeque loving buddies. ‘But dad, I want to help. I’m independent, remember. I can’t do this.’ BITCH, YOU GOT KIDNAPPED AND SOLD INTO THE SEX TRADE! And how does Liam manage to make this phone call unnoticed? Because the fucking geniuses who kidnapped him, knowing exactly how well trained and dangerous he is, leave him in a basement, unattended, with only a sleepy guard outside the door. God fucking damn it.

What follows us an increasingly monotonous series of so called action sequences which have all the implausibility and none of the viciousness of the original movie. In every ‘fight’ they try to pass off a couple of dudes ineffectually slapping at each other’s hands by shooting them with 16 cameras and cutting rapidly between them. Most disappointing of all, at no point does Liam do something so sudden and brutally cold that it made me spit out my beer in gleeful astonishment. Like, for example, shoot a bitch in the shoulder because he was getting mildly impatient.

Jesus fucking Christ, now I’m angry. People think I’m just a whiny bitch because I don’t fall under the spell of hype and marketing every time Hollywood churns out another ball-less sequel like this one. My anger is well founded, though, because this laziness should not be tolerated. You should not have to settle for weak ass sequels or watered down 12A bullshit. Nor, luckily, do you have to, as Sylvester Stallone is still standing strong as the last line of defence against the pussification of the American action film. And just to prove how immune I am to the effects of hype and marketing, here is the trailer for Bullet To The Head, which I have already decided will be the best American action movie of the year. Of course its only real competition is Stallone’s other masterpiece of badassery, The Expendables 2. In case you were thinking about skipping the trailer, here is a list of the acts of manliness it contains, in no particular order:

Stallone, assassinating people.
Stallone, swearing vengeance.
Stallone, axe-fighting that big dude from Game Of Thrones.
Stallone, drinking whiskey.
Stallone, fighting in his boxers.
The return of Christian Slater.

All with a fucking Motorhead soundtrack. Fuck yeah.

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