Taken 2 – Hollywood’s Albanian Complex 2.0

So here I am at the Millennium cinema after a week of persisting my girlfriends  to watch Taken 2 by using social research arguments. I don’t even know how I succeeded to convince them, knowing their specific and rather alternative movie taste. Thank you girls for joining me, I own you a drink! 

What really triggered my interest in Taken 2 is plain curiosity how Hollywood directors portrait my people, customs, and cultural elements especially in some oriental set up setting like Istanbul.

The sequel of “Taken 2 ” is very simple, as simple as 1+1=2 for first graders is. The Albanian sex traffickers who kidnapped Kim (Maggie Grace) in Taken 1 are after her father, retired CIA agent Bryan Mills (Neeson), seeking revenge on Bryan and his ex-wife, Lenore (Famke Janssen) who happen to be in Istanbul together with their daughter.  After the first 10 minutes there was nothing left to imagine or to look forward to. It was very clear who were the winners, the losers, the good guys, the evil ones, and who will be slaughtered in name of some Albanian tribal revenge. It’s a movie advertised as an adrenaline-fuel thrill ride with a pretty hot thriller staring like Liam Neeson, but unfortunately with no substance and weight behind its contend. Not even a charismatic movie star like Liam could compensate, it’s that bad that the action thriller PG-13 turns out comic and ridiculously cheesy. But ok, Rotten Tomatoes critics can rate it. 

What’s striking is that even simple facts and symbols were not straight.  Since we’re talking about a Hollywood movie, I find quite embarrassing this mishmash of symbols like the blue color of our flag with an eagle or some weird ES number plate. What a lousy research! After all is it that difficult for a crew of experts on multi million movie budget to check these facts? If you ask a 10 year old kid here can tell you that Tropoja a city situated in northern Albania and it is not bordered with Turkey (Turkish flag was showing in the borderline). Furthermore, as a matter of fact Albanians do speak Albanian and do not greet each other in Arabic with “Salam Aleikum” though the majority of us are Muslim. Plus what a confusion with traffickers’  names as father named Murad, sons respectively Mirko and Marko. Sexist was the ritual of burial ceremony with almost no women around, but rough dark skin looking men (for the record people living in northern part of Albania  are mostly blond, tall and blue eyed). Not that this matters, but just to straighten the facts. 

In addition, I found misleading using the stereotype of revenge/blood feuds in such a criminal context. First by involving the family in bloodthirsty revenge plot they’re talking no longer about Albanian gangs, but rather Albanian people of Tropoja seeking revenge for their lost son’s life. Second, by building up the scenario on one of the most controversial rules of the Kanun of Lekë Dukagjini , a code of rules dating back in the 15th century where is specified how murder is supposed to be handled, which lead to blood feuds (similar to Italian Vendetta laws) risk of deforming and generalizing this particular clustered phenomena into some randomized crime and unfaithful Albanian stereotypes. In other words, that’s again the danger of little knowledge.

To sum it up I can’t agree more with Wesley Morris of The Boston Globe: It’s a stupid movie by smart people who aren’t smart enough to realize it’s stupid. The absurdity grows like mold in the dank, dark of seriousness. So it’s fun for some of the right reasons, but mostly for the wrong ones.”

5 thoughts on “Taken 2 – Hollywood’s Albanian Complex 2.0”

  1. Taken for prostitution reasons isn’t the worst this mob are known for. How about the torture and trafficking of body organs from Serbs. How would you like to have your organs removed one by one until your dead. Have a read about it, even Carla De Ponte who was an anti Serb, admits she got it wrong regarding kosovo

    1. Dear Jana,
      Personally I don’t believe on Del Ponte fairy-tails about organ trafficking plus no evidence in support of such allegations was ever brought before the Tribunal’s judges. But this is not the issue here. Criminals unfortunately are everywhere, but one nation can not be criminal. I don’t judge or make responsible Serbian people for the atrocities done by their army during Kosovo war (…and these facts are proven) because I don’t believe that a whole nation is criminal and able to commit mass destructive crimes. My point is that any producer should be careful with stereotyping since is highly misleading, not fair and dangerous.

  2. If anyone in the whole wide world used Hollywood as a source of information then s/he would be in serious trouble and it would be her/his own fault. If History Channel does not got the facts straight half the time why would anyone expect Hollywood to do so? Hollywood is simply an entertainment moneymaking industry. The producers are interested in entertaining their audience and making money out of it. It is true that the movie is poorly researched but who cares. The Department of State searched their information on Kosova on the Serbian Government Website and trust me they have far more money at their disposal than Hollywood. My point: A movie should not be taken seriously. Thank you for your entertaining blog. I love it.

  3. Personally, to me the movie Taken looks very much as if it was literaly ordered (paid for) by “some”(one) who obviousy had a clear intention of creating a negative sterotype about Albanians…I’m trying to resist this thought that may be interpreted as a conspiracy theory, but it doesn’t take long to put two and two together and figure the intention of those that “ordered’ one such movie… an anti-albanian movie in the middle of USA…an Albanina drone in the middle of serbia…whats going on? Why are haters and trouble makers still more powerful than ordinary people, the majority of which are Peaceful….

    1. What happened to that noble Liam Neeson? I mean, the naivity of this move produced some negative and unexpected result-namely I read the other day that not only is he now disliked by Albanians, but he is disliked by all those that do not really like violence, especially with Liam Neeson, formerly engaged in roles of noble personalities, endulging in violence. It feels as if he is desperately trying to prove to someone that is isn’t really some irish clumsy hilbilly retard (the impresison he left with his roles at the beggining of his career) but a tough guy instead…”Oh, come on, for God’s sake, that’s just another role” some maight say, but un that case, why doesn’t he play some irish villain.., or a villain that comes from the “culture” of those that still live in the past and have no other business but to explain their failure to evolve into HUumane humans by blaming the “monsterous” Albanians….I’ll wrap it up with some responses to this “movie”:

      “Neil Genzlinger of The New York Times gave the film a negative review, writing that much of Taken 2 “seems like a nonstop car and foot chase, with Albanian after Albanian falling victim to Bryan’s remarkable aim and hand-fighting skills. Foreigners bad, Americans good, box office busy.”…
      except that I don’t think there’s anything authentically American in this movie (despite the effort of the movie makers and those that ordered this ridiculous movie)….except for sensationalism…even the harshest American hero or a superhero wouldn’t endulge so much in violence as this (h)irish man and his frenchy producers do….

      “Marko” from Tropoja…Albanian mafia….right…

      The makers or the move Taken and Taken 2, or better, those that paid for one such movie to be maid, have a problem with the fact that the only Albanina ever called Murad is the Nobel Prize winner Ferid Murad,

      …and they obviously have a problem with the fact that one ather famouls Nobel Prize Winner is Albanian too- Mother Theresa, and so was John Belushi, as is his brother James Belushi, actress Eliza Dushku, singers like Anna Oxa, Rita Ora, etc ,etc…

      But the biggest problem that those who paid for this movei to be made is the fact that Albanina nation is what value Albanians place on human life and dignity was seen during the Second World War when at great personal risk, they refused to hand over a single Jew to the occupying Nazis. To the best of our knowledge, this was not a feat repeated anywhere else in the Balkans or across Nazi-dominated Europe, East or West. The role of Albanian rescuers as ‘Righteous Gentiles’ is recognized by Israel…

      and one other problem that those who paid for this move to be made have is that it wasn’t the Albanians that besieged cities all over former yugoslavia and shelled them daily massacring civilians (and the ICTY Tribunal in Hague is not really packed up with Albanians, right?)…

      So, haters, try harder next time…or was this actually a message to the Big Borther: ” We can ridicule you and your little allies by using your own weapon-Hollywood”…

      a hillbilly kind of Zeitgeist…..

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