Will iconic images recorded in the grooves of an ancient vase unite the Holy Land or rip it further apart?

THE VASE

A novel by Mark M. DeRobertis

Muhsin Muhabi is a Palestinian potter, descended from a long line of potters. His business is run from the same shop owned by his ancestors since the day his forebears moved to Nazareth. The region's conflict saw the death of his oldest son, and rogue terrorists are in the process of recruiting his youngest in their plot to assassinate the Pope and Israeli prime minister.

Professor Hiram Weiss is an art historian at Nazareth’s Bethel University. He is also a Shin Bet operative on special assignment. With the help of fellow agent, Captain Benny Mathias, he plans to destroy the gang responsible for the death of his wife and only child. He puts a bomb in the ancient vase he takes on loan from Muhsin’s Pottery Shop.

Mary Levin, the charming assistant to the director of Shin Bet, has lost a husband and most of her extended family to recurring wars and never-ending terrorism. She dedicates her life to the preservation of Israel, but to whom will she dedicate her heart - the brilliant professor from Bethel University - or the gallant captain who now leads Kidon?

Harvey Holmes, the Sherlock of Haunted Houses, is a Hollywood TV host whose reality show just flopped. When a Lebanese restaurant owner requests his ghost-hunting services, he believes the opportunity will resurrect his career. All he has to do is exorcise the ghosts that are haunting the restaurant. It happens to be located right across the street from Muhsin’s Pottery Shop.



Monday, January 19, 2015

Taken 3 - All Wrong

I really enjoyed Taken and Taken 2, so I saw Taken 3 this past weekend. I thought it would be just as good. Just as great, I mean. I was pumped for it. Because at the conclusion of Taken 2 they had the premise for Taken 3 all set to go. The main character, Brian Mills, played by Liam Neeson, had finally gotten the better of the bad guy, some Albanian Muslim dude whose son Brian Mills had killed in the first Taken movie. But before Mills kills the guy, he asks if he has other sons. The guys says yes, he has two more. And Mills asks if they'll be coming for revenge, too. The dude says yes, for sure. Then after he gives the guy a chance to live, he kills him.

Okay. All set for Taken 3. The guy's other two sons will come for revenge, and Mills will do his thing that involves his particular set of skills. It's what makes the movies great.

BUT NO!  By the way, SPOILER ALERT!! Read no further if you haven't seen Taken 3 yet because I'm going to explain why I was so disappointed with it. And here's why: Mills' wife, er, I mean ex-wife, is murdered. Of course I was under the impression it was that dude's two other sons plotting to get revenge, and they were starting by murdering his ex-wife. BUT NO!! They make up some complete BS about her current husband being involved with Russian mafia guys, who are the bad guys. And to top it all off, as a kind of twist that didn't surprise anyone, it was his ex-wife's husband who was behind the whole thing. And they went out and found an actor, Dougray Scott, to play the part. Because he wasn't the same actor who played the part in the first two movies.

This was a huge let down for me. First, Russian mafia being the bad guys is now just as stereotypical and old as using Italian mafia as bad guys used to be. They have become the default heavies for the movies nowadays. I didn't need to see that in Taken 3, which had already established Albanians as the heavies, and there was NO NEED TO CHANGE THAT. The storyline had already been set! It worked, and it was going to work for Taken 3.

But all good things, as they say, come to an end. Taken 3 was a huge disappointment, and I was sorry I went to see it. If they choose to do Taken 4, and get back to those two remaining sons out for revenge, then maybe they'll get back on track and I'll like it again. We'll see.

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