Movie Reviews: Gran Turino and Taken

Watched a couple of excellent films yesterday and the day before. Actually, I’ve still been watching as many as usual–just haven’t been reviewing them. Too busy with other stuff. But these were both very well done, so I wanted to make sure to get to them.

Gran Turino is Clint Eastwood’s latest drama, and I thoroughly enjoyed it. Four stars (although I’ve talked to some people who really disliked the ending–it worked for me, is all I’ll say). The movie’s about an old Korean War vet living in an area of Detroit that’s being taken over by Hmong immigrants. He’s old, crotchety and a 100% bigot. Then he’s forced to start seeing some of the Hmong as actual people. Drama ensues. It was very well filmed, and most of the acting was spot on–I loved Eastwood in it. Sort of made me think I was seeing what happened to Dirty Harry long after he retired. The film’s rated R for rampant racially slurs and plenty of obscenity, but it’s got a really good message at heart, too. For what it’s worth.

Taken is a very different film. Liam Neeson plays a father whose daughter is kidnapped. But as opposed to the typical father who can only watch helplessly, Neeson has a chance to speak to the captors. This is what he says: “I don’t know who you are. I don’t know what you want. If you are looking for ransom, I can tell you I don’t have money. But what I do have are a very particular set of skills; skills I have acquired over a very long career. Skills that make me a nightmare for people like you. If you let my daughter go now, that’ll be the end of it. I will not look for you, I will not pursue you. But if you don’t, I will look for you, I will find you, and I will kill you.” Bloodshed ensues. Lots of bloodshed (but not enough for an R rating–they kept it PG-13). I really liked the movie for what it was–a strong 3 stars, and an excellent example of how much you can have your protagonist get away with if you make sure he’s up against even worse. Highly recommended.

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