‘Taken 2′ & ‘District 13′ American Remake In The Cards

Published 6 years ago by , Updated February 15th, 2014 at 4:25 pm,

In a recent interview with the Los Angeles Times, scriptwriter Robert Mark Kamen (who wrote the three Transporter movies, the three Karate Kid movies and The Fifth Element, amongst others) has been talking about the the next assignments on the table for the French “action factory” Mediacorp. And among the projects mentioned, two of them were a sequel to the surprise smash-hit Taken and an English language remake of the French free-running flick District 13 (or to use it’s French title, Banlieue 13).

Now not much was said beyond Taken 2 being in the development stage (although it’s very early on I’d imagine), and the American remake of District 13 being crafted by Kamen. But since it was mentioned it’s worth pondering: Does Taken need a sequel? And does District 13 need to be in English?

Let’s start with Taken.

Taken is a film I was not a fan of, not because I thought the action was sub-par or anything like that (actually if it was in another movie I would’ve loved it) but simply because of the morally bankrupt piece that it was. I won’t go into that in-depth but let’s just say morals were nowhere to be seen when that was supposed to be the whole point of why Liam Neeson’s character was doing what he was going.

But clearly I am in the minority (for example, Screen Rant head honcho Vic really liked the film). It was a smash-hit not just in the UK and Europe but in a fickle movie market like the US. It’s still playing in places in the States and already it has grossed over $180 million worldwide – just think how rare that is for the type of film Taken is. I see nothing so drastically different in it that should allow it to make such money.

But clearly because of this fact they’re obviously going to at least think about making another one. However setting aside my grievances with the film, I don’t think it needs a sequel. The whole point of the first one was about this guy who goes forcefully after the people who kidnap his daughter – it’s a one shot that doesn’t warrant a sequel. I’m pretty sure he’s not going to allow that to happen to his daughter again, and if he did wouldn’t it just be a clone of the first film as far as plot goes?

I could (at a stretch) see a prequel, since outside of the kidnap story of his daughter, the character’s background has potential for some major kick-ass scenes.

Now as far as an English language remake of District 13 goes I am actually all for it. Although the first one feels very French in how it was shot and all that, the type of action flick that it was lends itself very well to the American style of action. American action movies are all about the over-the-top “that would never happen in real life” stuff and I think English language audiences would really respond to it.

However it should be noted that there’s already a sequel to the original been made (click here for the trailer), so perhaps it’s best to wait a couple of years before they remake it into English.

What do you think of the notions of both a sequel to Taken and an English language remake of District 13?

Sources: /Film and Los Angeles Time

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  1. Ross-

    People are responding to the idea that a parent is doing anything he can to save his child – which is a universal concept, easily understood and translated.

    While I can’t see using the Liam Neeson character in a sequel, I can see using the premise with new characters and setting.

  2. Agree with Bill, I saw this film with my dad and he teared up because of Neeson’s performance. Being a dad doing anything for their child, and especially the auction scene, imagine you having to witness that!
    I can see them taking Neeson’s character and putting him in another adventure, he is after all sort of like a “gun-for-hire” in some ways. Plus, is it not awesome seeing Aslan owning fools? Neeson rules!

    District B13 remake? Sorry, an English remake, ehh, might as well. Don’t see the point considering they could just dub over the voices, and there are tons of American productions taking place in France, like Frantic, so what is the point really?

  3. @Bill Cunningham,

    Okay so all throughout the movie he kills all of these guys left, right and centre (the way in which he killed them was clearly just written for the sake of looking fancy) but when it gets to the auction bit he goes along with it instead of just skulking from room to room killing each bidder? What a loving father that is.

    And the general thinking of the movie was contrived and quite dispicable – young, pretty, niave American white girl steps one foot out of the safe haven that is the US and she gets kidnapped by those big bad bearded foreigners who want to OBVIOUSLY sell her in the sex trade. Yes, that’s what happens.

  4. @Ross

    Would you let your daughter (hypothetically if you do not have one) go to Mexico right now?

  5. @Ross

    The sex slave trade is alive and well, my friend, even though you may think it’s not. It’s especially heinous when it comes to child prostitution, with about a million children a year being sold/kidnapped into that.

    And I’ve explained to you the “bidding” scene – he was in a fortified building swarming with security and he was trying to get out of there with his daughter alive.

    So it’s bad that he did so much killing, but in a scene where he tries to avoid doing any killing that’s bad too?

    Sorry, the scene made sense to me and the movie spoke to me because I have a daughter as well. There was nothing despicable about the scene you mentioned.


  6. If they make a B13 remake without David Belle and Cyril Raffaelli it would be POINTLESS! Although not perfect, the B13 movies had great action and fighting scenes. David Belle invented Parkour (don’t give me that “co creator” bullcrap) and was perfectly cast in this movie (although he was underused). Cyril Raffaelli, one of the best stuntmen and fight choreographers today, was also the perfect cast. I already see Hollywood screwing this up.

    However there is potential. They did do the parkour scene in Casino Royale really well.

    But am not optimistic about it. In a typical hollywood fashion, they will probably hire some music video director to do fast cuts and shaky camera Parkour scenes, which goes against the essence of Parkour. And I can’t wait to see how bad they screw up the casting for this too. Pretty boy actors that will have doubles in every action scene.

    Sorry to rant, but B13 was something special. David Belle, Cyril Raffaelli are really some of the most physically talented people alive today (just watch some youtube clips and you’ll no).

  7. @Ross, the way he handled the sex trade made more sense than him trying to kill everyone “room to room.” You did see that he didn’t even get away with that right? He was completely outnumbered and he probably wouldn’t have made it past the 2nd room before he would have been killed, and his daughter ushered away to who knows where before he got anywhere close to her. His method, if he wouldn’t have been found out, would have worked like a charm. Remember, his goal is to get his daughter back, not take down the world’s sex trade. That’s pretty much impossible for one man to do, yet in the course of getting his daughter back, he almost does this anyhow, lol.

    Anyway, I really don’t see any argument over the morality of what he did in that movie. If I had the skill and the resources he did and I was in the same situation, you’re damned right I would have done the exact same thing.

    Anyway, I agree, however, that a sequel sounds stupid. There’s absolutely no way there will be such a huge coincidence that it happens again. The ONLY possibility is that the people behind the sex trade tracks him down, so it’s not really the same story, more of a “now he has to kick all of these peoples’ arses that are trying to kill him and his family” type movie. Not sure if it’ll have the same charm.

    As for District 13, I don’t know, I thought it was a pretty crappy movie, lol. And isn’t Doomsday a remake of it?? LOL, just kidding.

  8. Ross
    Season Two of The Wire touched on Sex Slaves being brought over to US shores to work, so it does happen everywhere!

  9. Wow, a lot of defending of Taken, I see.. I didn’t realise there was such passion and positivity for that movie. As I said I am in the minority, I know that. But it’s just my opinion, just what I felt truly when the movie ended (and during it).

    To me I felt that auction scene was heart of what was wrong with the movie. It didn’t sit right with me, particularly when it was supposed to be this loving father who was trying to save her.

    And as far as Neeson killing all these guys in the Bourne-esque ways that he did, I didn’t say I didn’t like that aspect, in fact I actually said if they were in another movie I would have loved them. And you say the place was swarming with guards, but he seemed to have no problem being able to kill of these guys up until that point.

    And don’t get me wrong I am NOT saying that the sex trade isn’t a thriving thing in places all over the world, not at all. I am just simply saying they used it in an action movie just as an excuse for a guy to beat the crap out of and/or kill anyone and everyone. It’s almost as if it wants to have it both ways – to be an action movie that’s simply about bad guys being killed in cool looking ways AND meaningful showcase/statement of what’s going on in the world today. Some movies can have it both ways, but the way Taken plays out it doesn’t fall into that catagory.

    At least not for me, as I said it’s just my opinion. Clearly I’m in the minority. To each their own.

  10. Ross, don’t mean to jump in on you when you’re down (by others disagreeing with you, that is), but I think you missed the beauty of this film.

    We’ve seen the story done before, but never done in such a good way. He’s a father who has amazing skills at his disposal. That was the selling point, “I will hunt you down and kill you”. We’ve seen it in Under Siege 2 (bad example, I know) and other movies. But it was so well done and balanced in this movie. It seems like you see this movie as two separate genres that don’t mix as one. I think the opposite. I never forgot that Liam’s character is a middle aged loving father. He just happened to have extraordinary skills. As some one else said, if you had these are any other special skills in a kidnapping situation you would use it (use everything).

    And I really think you’re off on the whole “human trafficing is an excuse to kick some ass”. It makes perfect sense in the context of the movie. Would you prefer they kidnap her for ransom? That’s been done in Ransom (lol). Or kidnap her just because they’re “evil”? I don’t understand what better alternative there could be.

    Again, someone above me said it very nicely. He never went after the whole human trafficing empire, he just wanted his daughter back and did just enough (i.e. killed just enough bad guys) to do so. Period.

    I thought it was one of the best, most balanced and smooth flowing movies of the year.

    But just like you said, that’s my opinion.

  11. I’m not saying he wouldn’t be able to kill them or take them down, I’m saying given that it would alert the people who obviously have the girls pretty well controlled in an area where you probably don’t have access to from that hallway, he will most likely lose her. If he would have controlled who won the auction and simply followed that person to the “collection” area, that is probably the best way to get to her.

    But yah, if you think that he would have been able to easily “collect” her by force, then you’re definitely entitled to your opionion.

  12. The only ‘logical’ sequel to Taken would be the underworld trying to get revenge on him. Anything else would be stupid and, you’re right, it becomes a different type of movie.

  13. @Wes

    Yeah and I’m not sure why the “underworld” would want revenge. He took down one buyer, ONE! It would have to be more of a personal vendetta of the buyers family IMO.
    I think a better way to go would be to have the president’s son (daughter vibe already used) “taken” as ransom against invasion or something ala “24″.

  14. A seqeul for Taken does not have to necessarily follow the previous films storyline. They could do something like the Bond films and follow the adventures of Neeson’s character.
    He did take the job of protecting the Singer from his old CIA buddies. A story could be that Neeson takes a job, something goes terribly wrong and so goes the film. It has been done before, so has Taken’s story, but it is different in the way they execute.

    Or, they can follow the previous story by having the Sheik’s people whom Neeson capped off come to get him.

  15. Taken connected because, at its core, it’s the same type of revenge film that worked so well in the 70s and 80s. Neeson mined that kind of blunt ferocity that actors like Eastwood and Bronson used to excel at.

    The other thing that was interesting about it, is that it was essentially a Matt Helm film. They’ve been trying to make one since 2002, but as far as I’m concerned, this was it. Re-title it, “The Preventers” and it becomes vintage Don Hamilton.

    You could easily make a sequel to Taken, even if you wanted to put Neeson’s family in peril again. His ex-wife was married to a guy that was heavily involved in secretive business deals. The most logical starting point would be to have one of them piss off the wrong group of people.

    This isn’t rocket science. And it’s not the kind of film that needs to be over-analyzed online. It’s the cinematic equivalent of a pulp novel, and Taken proved that an audience still exists for that type of satisfying, gut-level entertainment.

  16. Actually INK, he also took down a lot of their infrastructure. Remember the guys at the airport, the guy he talked to on the phone (and everyone in that building that he also killed…), the guys at the construction yard, the guys in that maintenance room that he killed, etc. etc. etc. are all people who actually keep the machine rolling. He basically set them back millions of dollars probably. They have to look for new sources of girls to use for those auctions, other people will have to take over the management roles from the people he killed, etc. etc.

    So they actually do have a reason to seek revenge. But I doubt it will have the same magic as Taken. People felt sympathetic for his character in Taken since they feel that if their loved one was taken that way, they WISH they can do what he did in the film. Most people don’t have the resources or the skill to pull that off, so it’s kind of like watching what they wish they could do in that situation.

    A sequel without that motivation… eh… not sure how that would go.

  17. What MIGHT be interesting is if the Arabs / slavers kidnap Neeson’s character and the daughter must assemble his buddies to get him back.

    (This has the potential to be really stupid too – don’t think I don’t know that!)


  18. The problem with having the slavers seek revenge is that Bryan Mills is no longer a threat to them.

    The business still exists and will continue to make money. They aren’t going to go out of their way to draw attention to themselves.

    Even if you want to limit the story to a plot element from Taken (and I’m not sure why you would), there are more interesting threads to pick up: Mills’ friends, Jean Claude, Lenore’s husband, etc.

  19. Taken rocked. I’d love a sequel.

  20. Did you all forget that at the beginning of Taken, Neeson hinted at the shady business deals that his ex-wifes husband did? The slave trade is not in the sequel. In its place we have a group of assassins sent to kill the family (daughter, ex-wife, and step father) and Neeson has to save them. The family is taken hostage and it is up to Neeson and his buddies to get them before they can leave the country. 48 hours before he loses them all. I think this would be the best way to make a sequel.

  21. And we all know what he’s willing to do for his daughter. His ex wife and her husband will just be a bonus if he saves them too, lol.

  22. Taken was a class act. American financed but with european filmmaking asthetics. I personally thought it functioned well. The action and plot seemed to flow well. Okay so it’s not an oscar contender but it’s entertaining. Surely thats one of the points of films??

  23. I absolutely LOVED the movie Taken. I am waiting on pins and needles for the sequel/prequel. Whatever they decide, I’ll be lining up opening day. We NEED more movies like Taken. Fantastic movie!

    I also loved District B13. The English dubbing was comical, to say the least, so I’ve only watched it in French, but it, too, is a lot of fun. I don’t know why they’d need to do an American or English-language sequel, the movie is perfect as it is.
    However, if the sequel makes a bunch of money here in the U.S., I guess spending $20-30 million on remaking the original would be warranted. They could easily get that back. Again, assuming the sequel does well here.

    Listen, the way I see it, Luc Besson just needs to keep pumping out movies. Whatever he does, seems to turn to gold. It’s amazing when you look at all the films he’s had a hand in. Cheap to make, entertaining story, and they make MILLIONS!

    Walt D in LV

  24. I’m looking forward to Taken, although I don’t see how they can follow up on that, it’s not like they can kidnap his daughter again and we see the same movie over, because the main reason why Taken was so good was because of his plight. We felt empathy toward him and wish we could do the same if we were in the same situation. I know if I had a daughter that was kidnapped and sold to a sex trade, I would want to kill just about everyone even remotely involved…

    What can they do in the sequel to match that?

    But I’m not too thrilled about District 13, thought that movie was pretty crappy… The novelty for that kind of movie kind of went away after Escape From New York…