So everyone loves a good cult film, right? And what’s better than getting in on the ground floor? I mean, imagine if you were the first person to struggle into your stepmom’s lingerie for a midnight showing of The Rocky Horror Picture Show or thought it’d be funny to throw plastic spoons at the screen during The Room, you’d be a local hero! Well, if you live in Toronto, now’s your chance to set the pace for a film that is bursting with potential cult cache.
This week at the Bloor Cinema Pierre Morel’s super-slick, super-stupid 2008 action-thriller Taken is playing. Now, this may not seem like the kind of movie to beget slavish cult superfandom, but hear me out. Taken is basically just that Schwarzenegger/Rae Don Chong movie Commando with a French accent. Basically, when his estranged teenage daughter get abducted and sold into the sex trade while on some giggly European vacation, Liam Neeson has 96 hours to fly to France, punch people in the throat, play cat-and-mouse with the French secret service, run amok through a construction site and do some half-assed undercover work in order to rescue her. The action is fast, the throat punches are many and the throwaway one liners flow like cheap Burgandy at some twenty-something wine and cheese party.
A couple of disclaimers. 1) This movie is ideologically appalling. In one scene Neeson’s character explains that torture should only be used in the first world because the power grids are more reliable. So if you’re the kind of person who takes movies way too seriously, Taken will likely leave you choking on your Albanian Studies/Social and Political Thought double-major. 2) The movie demands you play make-believe long enough to pretend that Maggie Grace could possibly be a virgin, let alone the kind who hops around in a cotton dress, Chucks and bedazzled denim jacket like she’s the home-schooled American equivalent of the Gothic Lolita. But if you can get past this–and you should–this movie rules. It confirms the long-standing suspicion that you can’t fuck with Liam Neeson. Dead Pool, Darkman, Batman Begins…the guy played Oscar Schindler for Christ’s sake. It also feels like it’s running on fast-forward–watching Neeson ascend the natural sex-terrorist pecking order from flaccid Frenchmen to middleman Albanians to (duh) Arab Shieks clocks in a tidy 93 minutes, but it moves so quickly you’d think you were watching Lake Placid.
So come, see Taken. Bring your “Take Me, Bryan!” signs and Sheerah T-shirts. Get drunk on red meat and red wine and yell out in chorus: “NOW IS NOT THE TIME FOR DICK-MEASURING, STEWART!”. Make jokes about your “very precise set of skills” and mock punch your friends in the throat. Hey, want to ask that pretty girl out on a date? Try this…
You: So, did you hear that Taken is playing at the Bloor?
Pretty Girl: Oh yeah, I haven’t seen it. Is it any–
You: This next part is very important: I’m going to take you.
Imagine the double-wide smiles on your grandkids’ faces when you tell them that one!
To further tantalize you, here’s the trailer:
Taken plays at the Bloor Cinema (just east of Bathurst) tonight (Monday) at 9:10pm and Wednesday, April 29 at 4:40pm.