Tuesday, January 20, 2015

OPERATION PETTICOAT (1959)

Mildly amusing tale of a WWII submarine captain who, due to some extraordinary circumstances, is forced to allow five Army nurses to catch a ride onboard his sub.  Naturally this causes chaos among the all-male crew and gives the writers reason to unleashes all kinds of G-rated sex jokes, like the ship's mechanic saying "A woman just shouldn't mess around with a man's machinery." or when a female who's climbing down a ladder asks "Am I going down alright?"  Hardy-har-har.

Innocent story, corny humor, Joan O'Brien stretching that shirt for everything it's got, a couple of tattoos on sailors in the background, numerous vintage military ships, airplanes and, of course, the sub.  Also this is yet another movie where the singing of "Auld Lang Syne" is quickly followed by disaster.  It'd be interesting to see exactly how many movies feature a similar situation.  I'm pretty sure it happened in THE APARTMENT and THE POSEIDON ADVENTURE.

Anyway, despite the dated humor I still enjoyed OPERATION PETTICOAT.  It's not really funny at all, but both Cary Grant and Tony Curtis are a pleasure to watch together.  And audiences agreed because this was the number 10 biggest box office draw back in 1959.  If you need me, I'll be in my room watching MISTER ROBERTS.

TAKEN 2 (2012)

Taking place soon after the events of the first film, TAKEN 2 opens with a funeral in a remote Albanian village.  The funeral is for some of the gangsters that Liam Neeson killed while rescuing his daughter from the sex traffickers.  The relatives, lead by the father of one of the dead men, swears revenge on Liam.   Liam inadvertently makes it easy for them (and the writers) by taking a security job in Istanbul, Turkey and allowing his daughter and ex-wife to visit!  So now all the bad guys have to do is drive over there and kidnap them.

The believability of TAKEN 2 is pretty out there, but oh well, at least we get to see Liam Neeson kicking ass and in the end: isn't that all that really matters?  Tons of people getting punching, zero nudity, lots of shooting hardly any blood or wounds, more of that extreme editing and close-ups during the fighting scenes (I'm really getting tired of that shit), predictable outcome, increased screentime for Maggie Grace who wears shorts a lot, hand grenade tossing, one hell of a car chase, nice photography.  TAKEN 2 isn't as satisfying as the original film and I think that has to do with the story being pretty ehhh and the location of Istanbul simply isn't as exciting as Paris.  Still, it's worth a watch for action fans.  Not a terrible sequel, but I was hoping for much more.  If you need me, I'll be in my room watching COMMANDO.

Part 1 - Taken

TAKEN (2008)

When some sex slave traffickers kidnap ex-CIA operative dude Liam Neeson's daughter, he goes all Arnold Schwarzenegger from COMMANDO on them and starts fucking shit up left and right.  The End.

I enjoyed TAKEN quite a bit.  The opening build-up relayed all of the pertinent information quickly.  After that it was just Neeson running around Paris beating the shit out of people.  Yeah, there's multiple problems with the story, but who really cares?  The main attraction here is to see Liam Neeson handing out knuckle sandwiches and that he does.  He's a great action character.

As usual, I'm always hoping that a movie is darker than it usually is and TAKEN is no different.  I think from a story standpoint a couple of A SERBIAN FILM touches would have worked wonders in showing exactly how dangerous the bad guys were.  Exhilarating car chases, emotional kidnapping scene, zero nudity, tons of shooting but no bloody wounds, brief scene at the beginning shows that Liam's ex-CIA coworker was Jon Gries (King Vidiot from JOYSTICKS!!), torture, fighting scenes with editing so quick and the camera so close that you have a hard time following what's happening, just a series of bad guys and no main boss fight at the end, nice location shooting in California and Paris.

TAKEN was a fun film.  Definitely worth a watch for action fans.  I'm hoping in part 2 they include Neeson's friends in on the action!  How awesome would that be to see King Vidiot running around getting his blast on, shooting people...and kicking bicycles.

Part 2 - Taken 2