Action-thriller fans out there will probably remember the Liam Neeson film Taken, the sleeper hit which grossed over $200 million worldwide on a relatively small budget of just $25 million. I wasn't a fan of the film myself (I don't wanna' get into why again), but clearly I'm in the minority.
Anyway, the writer of that film was Robert Mark Kamen, who even if you don't know the name you'll know the movies he's written in the past: apart from Taken, on his resume is The Fifth Element, The Transporter trilogy and three Karate Kid movies.
We previously reported that Taken 2 is in the cards for Kamen and partner Luc Besson, but what else is on deck for the action writer? Well, Variety is reporting that CBS Films has struck a preemptive deal to acquire Vengeance, which is an action pitch by Kamen.
Despite material sales being few and far between in these financially troubling times, CBS Films prexy Amy Baer saw an opportunity with Vengeance, deciding to step up and take a chance on an action film with a modest budget that's described as being in very much the same vein as Taken ("Why change a recipe that's proven to work?" is probably Baer's line of thinking). Kamen describes the project:
"Basically, it's a contemporary revenge love story -- what happens when violence meets love... The main characters are 20 and Italian, and there are themes that echo films like 'The Godfather.' It's about family loyalty and how much someone owes their family and the past. It's not set in the gangster milieu but just outside it."
Sounds like a very interesting idea to me. I don't know if a film akin to Taken can reach the level of The Godfather (I'm not attacking Taken, I just mean the TYPE of film that it is), but it's intriguing Kamen wants to include themes that echo those of Francis Ford Coppola's masterpiece.
I just wonder if Vengeance will be the same size of a hit that Taken was - after all they seem to be employing the same formula again. But perhaps there wasn't an explainable reason for Taken's success and it just, for whatever reason, struck a chord with audiences. I'll be interested to see how well Vengeance does at the box office.
Liam Neeson in Taken
On a side note, Kamen has said that he and Besson (whom he co-wrote Taken with) have already scripted Taken 2, and are waiting for Liam Neeson's availability next year before they move ahead with it. Good news, folks?
Do you like the sound of Kamen's action pitch, Vengeance? Do you think it can have the same success that Taken had, given that it's described as in the same vein?