To preface, the first time I saw this movie was in theatres with my dad right before I left to go to Italy for the summer. The second the credits started rolling, my dad and I both turned to each other and said, “Do not let mom see this movie.”
To make an understatement, this movie is a mother’s, (or ex-CIA dad’s) worst nightmare. You have two girls on the verge of independence: old enough to talk politics and use the stove by themselves but young enough to set off the “prey” alarm bells in sleazy mens’ heads. Who are all too ubiquitous in Hollywood Paris. Who runs the world? According to Beyonce it’s girls, but according to this movie it’s the Albanian sex-traffickers. Sadly, probably more accurate depending on where you live, and since MTV2 isn’t anywhere on the map, the latter is probably true for more people.
Basically five minutes into the movie, Liam Neeson (who is billed as the over-protective ex-CIA crazy dad) is proven completely right, and has to go on this rampage of fighting and killing and car crashes because his daughter gets, you guessed it, taken. How does he know she gets taken? BECAUSE HE’S ON THE PHONE WITH HER WHEN IT HAPPENS. That’s simply something no parent-not even a fictional one- should have to go through.
These two girls, Katie and Amanda (could they have chosen more boring names? Just sayin) land in France and share a cab to their apartment with this guy Peter because he’s “hot.” First of all, ladies, don’t relax your paranoia guard just because someone is attractive and secondly DON’T SHARE A CAB BACK TO YOUR HOUSE WITH SOMEONE. Unless they’re pregnant. And have their midwife with them. But honestly I don’t really see that coming up. Of course ‘Peter’ ends up being part of an underground crime ring and he sends people back later to kidnap the girls. Who are dancing and talking on cell phones. They could not have been less prepared to be kidnapped.
Liam Neeson gets his shit into gear and is in Paris within what seems like 20 minutes, but was probably more like 10 hours. He does kill someone within the first fifteen minutes of being in the country though. Also, if we’re being completely honest, I watched this movie on one of those treadmill TVs at the gym, and I made myself an informal promise that whenever there was a car chase or a chase on foot, or intense fighting, I would run. It was one of the best workouts I’ve ever had. And now obviously I’m really sore and tired, but at the time I had so much adrenaline, it was like I was floating. Okay no it didn’t. It felt like that maybe once then the rest of the time it was painful. But Liam and I are on the same page.
Aaahhhhh everything gets so crazy; he goes to this warehouse that just gives you the chills of pure evil when you watch him enter. He goes to this sort of drug house, he tortures someone with a lightbulb, jumps off a bridge what felt like a ridiculous number of times. All these things lead him up to this really fancy party which has two floors, and the bottom floor is these glass cells where the richest of the rich bid on drugged up virgins that these men have kidnapped from god knows where. Liam ends up in one of the glass cells, and with the aid of a knife (or broken champagne bottle?) to some guy’s throat, gets him to buy his daughter.
But then he gets knocked out. On the treadmill I think I let out an audible gasp, but everyone else is too busy gasping for their own air, I don’t think they noticed. So Liam gets tied to this ceiling pipe and some huge guy starts choking him but somehow he pulls the pipe out of the ceiling, (even though it was supporting his whole body weight no problem a minute ago) kills all those guys, kills the main orchestrator of the party (who brought Liam’s daughter here) steals and drives a car to catch up to then jump on a boat, where his daughter is one of three girls being given to some sheik.
Sidenote- I found this movie slightly offensive in its handling of people from Eastern Europe- it made them all sound like evil leeches who prey on society and whose only source of income is profiting from the misfortune of others. The language when Liam was talking to the French secretary of the interior-his friend- that they used to describe the Albanians “coming in” and taking over Paris, it sounded more like an infestation of roaches that they were trying to exterminate than a group of people. I think a lot of individuals form their opinions about the rest of the world from the movies they watch (potentially just me) and I think it’s important to be able to discern what’s bias and what’s accurate. I’m here to say that not everything you see in movies is real! Remember that! Excpet the Lion King, every part of that is 100% true. (Except what fruit does Raifiki christen Simba with??? A blood orange? An African grapefruit? I think they just made that thing up).
But back to the sheik on the boat. Liam shoots him in the head. Then he gets his daughter and they GTFO. I didn’t think she was as grateful as she should have been considering all the circles of hell he went through to get to her but I guess she was shell-shocked and maybe still drugged. The thought of someone drugging me against my will is one of the scariest things I can think of. In general this movie scared the absolute fucking shit out of me, because it’s not vampires or some monster made of radiated sewage, it’s just things that really do happen.
On a more symbolic note, I thought this was a good metaphor for why people should be conscious about where their things come from and what their money goes to support. Because while sometimes when people talk about buying organic/local/freetrade/sustainable/green it makes me want to stick an organic carrot in their windpipe, on the other hand in this movie, so many of the people on the higher end of the business were content to turn a blind eye because it didn’t effect them, while they were directly supporting evil. And the whole time I felt like it made them bad people. And it’s kind of the same thing, if you don’t go out of your way to make sure the shit you buy didn’t harm someone in the process- you can’t really assume it’s okay because the world can be an awful place and sometimes you have to assume the worst.
I didn’t mean for this lap desk (yes I have a lap desk) to turn into a soapbox, but sometimes you just gotta run with something. And I ran with it. Like Secretariat. and also like Secretariat, sometimes you have to acknowledge when something’s dead. So I will end this post now, and go make quesadillas because I’m starving.