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ON FAITH & MEDIA View Comments

Taken 2

By
John Mulderig
Source: Catholic News Service


Liam Neeson and Maggie Grace star in "Taken 2."
Liam Neeson scowls his way through the sour sequel "Taken 2" (Fox). Moviegoers may find themselves displaying a similar expression should they choose to spend a long 90 minutes watching Neeson tangle with—and inevitably best—one anonymous heavy after another.

This time out, Neeson's Bryan Mills—a retired CIA agent short of fuse but long on mad fighting skills —is up against the machinations of a grudge-bearing Albanian by the name of Murad (Rade Sherbedgia). Murad is out for revenge because Bryan killed his son, the principal baddie of the first installment of the franchise.

Never having been exposed to the civilizing influences of Walmart and the Olive Garden, poor benighted Murad, who's not only Eastern European but a Muslim to boot, fails to understand that junior had his torturous death at Bryan's hands coming. So he hatches a plot to kidnap Bryan, Bryan's ex-wife, Lenore (Famke Janssen), and their teen daughter Kim (Maggie Grace).

Since Kim's previous abduction by Murad's pride and joy—a serial human trafficker—provided the premise of the earlier go-round, perhaps she should contact Lloyd's of London at this point and see if they don't offer an insurance policy for this sort of thing.

The perfunctory setup we witness before Murad springs his trap includes a nod or two in the direction of family togetherness and hints at a possible reconciliation for Bryan and Lenore. But, given that Bryan's methods of paternal protectiveness resemble those of a Mafia don, the emotions expressed on the way to his killing spree ring hollow.

In reality, mayhem for its own sake seems to be the driving principle behind director Olivier Megaton's otherwise largely pointless shoot-em-up.

The film contains frequent, sometimes gory violence, including beatings and torture, brief premarital sensuality, at least one use of profanity and occasional crude language. The Catholic News Service classification is A-III—adults. The Motion Picture Association of America rating is PG-13—parents strongly cautioned. Some material may be inappropriate for children under 13.

*****
John Mulderig is on the staff of Catholic News Service.



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Monica: The circumstances of St. Monica’s life could have made her a nagging wife, a bitter daughter-in-law and a despairing parent, yet she did not give way to any of these temptations. Although she was a Christian, her parents gave her in marriage to a pagan, Patricius, who lived in her hometown of Tagaste in North Africa. Patricius had some redeeming features, but he had a violent temper and was licentious. Monica also had to bear with a cantankerous mother-in-law who lived in her home. Patricius criticized his wife because of her charity and piety, but always respected her. Monica’s prayers and example finally won her husband and mother-in-law to Christianity. Her husband died in 371, one year after his baptism. 
<p>Monica had at least three children who survived infancy. The oldest, Augustine (August 28) , is the most famous. At the time of his father’s death, Augustine was 17 and a rhetoric student in Carthage. Monica was distressed to learn that her son had accepted the Manichean heresy (all flesh is evil)  and was living an immoral life. For a while, she refused to let him eat or sleep in her house. Then one night she had a vision that assured her Augustine would return to the faith. From that time on, she stayed close to her son, praying and fasting for him. In fact, she often stayed much closer than Augustine wanted. </p><p>When he was 29, Augustine decided to go to Rome to teach rhetoric. Monica was determined to go along. One night he told his mother that he was going to the dock to say goodbye to a friend. Instead, he set sail for Rome. Monica was heartbroken when she learned of Augustine’s trick, but she still followed him. She arrived in Rome only to find that he had left for Milan. Although travel was difficult, Monica pursued him to Milan. </p><p>In Milan, Augustine came under the influence of the bishop, St. Ambrose, who also became Monica’s spiritual director. She accepted his advice in everything and had the humility to give up some practices that had become second nature to her (see Quote, below). Monica became a leader of the devout women in Milan as she had been in Tagaste. </p><p>She continued her prayers for Augustine during his years of instruction. At Easter, 387, St. Ambrose baptized Augustine and several of his friends. Soon after, his party left for Africa. Although no one else was aware of it, Monica knew her life was near the end. She told Augustine, “Son, nothing in this world now affords me delight. I do not know what there is now left for me to do or why I am still here, all my hopes in this world being now fulfilled.” She became ill shortly after and suffered severely for nine days before her death. </p><p>Almost all we know about St. Monica is in the writings of St. Augustine, especially his <i>Confessions</i>.</p> American Catholic Blog Heavenly Father, I am sure there are frequently tiny miracles where you protect us and are present to us although you always remain anonymous. Help me appreciate how carefully you watch over me and my loved ones all day long, and be sensitive enough to stay close to you. I ask this in Jesus's name. Amen.

 
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