Posts Tagged ‘reviews’

Taken 2: The Cleaners

October 7, 2012

Those of us too penniless to pay for the adverts to go away on a particular music database software, will undoubtedly have been recently bludgeoned by the testostermoaning — the machine-gunning — Megaton cash-grabbing — and Hollywooden grit that is the trailer for the new disasterpiece, Taken 2. And, like me, you’ll have heard the frankly incredibly generous reviews it is getting — if you haven’t, then let me enlighten you: critics are, apparently, calling it “the thrill ride of the year”, with the Daily Star going so far as to say “eat your heart out 007”, “10/10”.

And if, like me, you know this movie is going to be an appalling piece of heartless, though glitzy, sewage, then you’ll have wondered who — who, that evidently thinks highly enough of cinema to write about it — would give this thing not simply a good review, but a flawless review — 10 out of 10. And you’ll have done some armchair investigations. But for anyone that hasn’t — you will perhaps be unsurprised to hear — that none of this coverage actually exists — or, at least, does not exist in relation to Taken 2.

So let’s start with the Daily Star — which movie reviewer was dense enough to believe that this was worth full marks — well, as it turns out, there is no such movie reviewer. Instead, the reviewer on the Daily Star’s website gives the movie a far more reasonable 2/5. But it’s still entirely possible that they enjoyed the action set-pieces enough to suggest it gives Bond a run for his money. Actually, they don’t do that either. In no place in the article do the words “eat your heart out 007” appear. But that’s not to say the Daily Star has never heaped such praise on such a movie — no, instead, a brief search of their archives tells us that, in fact, it was The Dark Knight Rises that had a perfect 10, that had sequences to cause Bond to commit autophagy.

Let us ignore for the moment the odd way in which the Star seems to have two entirely distinct scales on which movies are rated, it would seem that the words from one review have simply been supplanted into the promotional matter for an entirely unrelated movie. Incidentally, as if it makes any difference, the reviews for TDKR and Taken 2 are not even written by the same person. Still, if I’d made a movie as terrible as Taken 2 seems to be, I’d certainly prefer to promote it via the discourse on a critically acclaimed movie.

And, actually, are they entirely unrelated? Let’s consider — because we still have that other quote dangling limply before us, and, as I’m sure everyone can second guess, neither is Taken 2 considered by the Daily Star’s reviewer the “thrill ride of the year”. The connecting link between the Batman franchise and the Taken franchise — Liam Neeson. Although only a cameo, Neeson does have a part to play in TDKR. Oh, well, it isn’t so entirely dishonest then, because Neeson was in Batman, and Neeson is in Taken 2, so basically it’s like they’re the same movie, which means it cannot possibly matter whether executives use material from Batman to promote this other movie.

In fact, it is this connection, the Liam Neeson connection, that provides the only potential link with this second quote — “thrill ride of the year” — and This Other Movie. Looking for movies that have been deemed a “thrill ride” of a “year” obviously brings with it a fair amount of pre-2012 baggage. So let us stick with movies that have come out this year – otherwise, we may risk stepping in some Transformers, and nobody wants that.

Liam Neeson has been in five movies this year, and if we subtract This Other Movie from the mix — because no amount of searching connects the quote with the movie — and therefore there are no grounds on which to say that the quote is without a doubt from a critic reviewing This Other Movie — we are still left with four action movies, action movies that are likely to have, at some developmental stage, been considered “thrilling”, even if they failed in reality. And, as it turns out, a reviewer on Rotten Tomatoes, reviewing Neeson’s The Grey — a movie that came out in January — calls it a movie  that “may very well be the best thrill ride of the year even after August”. Which — as the reviewer has pointed out — is not the same thing at all as saying a movie is unreservedly the thrill ride of the year; and if, indeed, this review is the source of the quote (an hypothesis currently simply based on the Neeson connection, and the fact that in no other review can I find remarks even remotely similar to this pertaining to This Other Movie), if, indeed, this is the source of the quote, the advert is using a review that, in the first place, did not offer unconditional praise to a different movie, but offers an opinion full of necessary qualifiers. If we restore the original quote, if we replace the ‘may’, then it seems the advert, through all its desperate and dishonest tactics, is undermining itself.

The only other reasonable option is that the quote has been made-up — it’s a bland enough compliment to give a movie, bland enough to prevent anybody with better things to do of a Sunday from really finding out whether or not This Other Movie is actually a “thrill ride”, and if so, if it really would be a thrill ride to render all other thrill rides this year redundant. And, of course, it wouldn’t be the first time movie promoters have just vomited their own pleasing bile all over their own movie posters (Hello to David Manning!) — but at least they had the decency to go to the effort of creating an entirely fictional reviewer, and didn’t just steal choice phrases from other, more deserving movies.

So, while it is still technically possible that some other reviewer in some other, paper-based medium has, in fact, called This Other Movie “the thrill ride of the year” — considering that the promoters have patently — patently! — and dishonestly taken material from another, far-better movie and shamelessly slapped their own turgid celluloid silly with it — considering this, then Taken 2, you are guilty until proven innocent on this count. And even if you are innocent on this count, you’re still so obviously guilty. I hope you are ashamed of yourself.

j.

And because it is important to be better than the people involved with This Other Movie have been, I cite my sources:

The Daily Star, Taken 2 review: http://tiny.cc/x1ctlw

The Daily Star, TDKR review: http://tiny.cc/q2ctlw

JK Lyles, The Grey review: http://tiny.cc/j3ctlw