IDENTITY

ABDUCTION (2011)
– 3 and a half out of 5 stars 

This is the only other movie I’ve seen Taylor Lautner in outside of the Twilight Saga; the other being The Adventures of Sharkboy and Lavagirl. He was so adorable as Sharkboy!

Anyway, in this movie, his real identity is a mess because he found himself on a missing persons’ website. Internet 101: be careful of what information you give out and always cover your webcam! Despite all the guns and chases, Lautner still manages to find time for some smooching. At least he took Time Management 101. I bet he did most of his stunts! Cool!

This marks the first time I’ve seen an actor from the original Swedish Millenium Trilogy films – Michael Nyqvist on American screens. He will be in MI4: Ghost Protocol while Noomi Rapace will be in Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows. Can’t wait!

NAILED

THE GIRL WHO KICKED THE HORNET’S NEST (2009)
3 and a half out of 5 stars

The final instalment of the Millennium trilogy.

Following the events after The Girl Who Played With Fire, Lisbeth is recovering in the hospital after being shot by her father. A trial awaits her as she is accused of attempted murder of her father. As the Section conspires to keep Lisbeth permanently confined to a mental institution, Mikael Blomkvist has to risk his life and race against time to gather substantial evidence to free Lisbeth.

There is probably the least action in this instalment than the others but it is still as exciting. I liked Blomkvist’s sister, Annika’s expression that it was unreal seeing an old man carrying a gun. Lisbeth’s trial has brought many of these members of the Section (most of which are senior citizens) out of retirement. Considering that these old men need dialysis, walking sticks and medication, they are real scheming for men their age. There’s still Niedermann, Lisbeth’s freaky half-brother, on the run and hunting Lisbeth as well. Lisbeth is still as cool as ever, stealing the scene when she appears in her dramatic mohawk and in the courtroom. She works out in her cell! I think the ending would please all and I liked how Annika is able to stay so calm during Lisbeth’s case when she’s like six months pregnant!

NEVER BURY THE HATCHET

THE GIRL WHO PLAYED WITH FIRE (2009)
– 3 and a half out of 5 stars

The second part of the Millennium trilogy where Lisbeth Salander is framed for three murders, one of which was her abusive guardian, and she is on the run. Although Lisbeth has not contacted Mikael Blomkvist for over a year, he believes Lisbeth is innocent and investigates the case and comes closer to Lisbeth’s past.

Watching this makes me feel like taking up kickboxing! I was particularly impressed when Miriam Wu, Lisbeth’s friend, could hold her own (for a while) against Niedermann, the freak who had congenital analgesia. Lisbeth also furnishes her new apartment with loads of Ikea furniture! Wow, this is a dream come true, man. I’ve always wanted an Ikea home since I could understand an Ikea catalogue.

Okay, the movie doesn’t seem as engaging as its predecessor, but it’s engaging enough because you get to know more about Lisbeth’s past. The character Zala is a mystery in the beginning but I was quite disappointed with how he ended up. Why??? There isn’t much face-to-face communication between Lisbeth and Mikael but I would say that Mikael has a lot of faith in her and is very angry at the people who have hurt Lisbeth in the past. The last thing I have to add is that Lisbeth is one hell of a girl; to be able to survive what Zala and Niedermann did to her and still come back to exact her brand of revenge is why Lisbeth is one of the most unforgettable female characters today.

NO ONE AND EVERYONE

THE GIRL WITH THE DRAGON TATTOO (2009)
– 4.5 out of 5 stars

Watched this and I think it’s so good, it makes me want to read the Millennium Trilogy rightaway.

An investigative journalist, Mikael Blomkvist, is offered an assignment from Henrik Vanger, the former CEO of Vanger Enterprises, to look into the mystery of the disappearance of his beloved niece, Harriet Vanger, 40 years ago. A comprehensive investigation into Mikael’s personal and professional history was carried out before Vanger decided to engage his help. The investigation was handled by Lisbeth Salander, a private investigator/hacker. Mikael accepts the assignment and moves to Hedeby. As he delves deeper into the case, he injects life into the cold case and has a shot at solving it with the help of Lisbeth.

At 152 minutes long, this is one of the longest films I’ve seen but I do not regret it. It is much better than splitting up the film into two parts and show them half a year apart. You can literally feel the adrenaline build up when Mikael discovers new leads into the old case.

The most shocking scenes would involve Lisbeth and her guardian because the guardian is simply sick in the head. I really wondered how he became a guardian. OMG Lisbeth had to limp home after that?! I suppose those are the parts that deserve the R21 rating. The photos from the news clippings aren’t for the weak-hearted because they are every bit of grotesque imagery. Lisbeth may be a very tough and intense woman but somehow, she’s still subjected to such anti-feminist treatment. But her retaliation was nicely done. Mystery-wise, it is very thrilling. Considering that it’s a 40-year-old case, you have to consider the fact that technology isn’t as advanced; photos are captured on film, records are not kept, sorted or could have been destroyed and most of the people involved may have passed away. Thus, Mikael and Lisbeth really did a good job through good and thorough research and having a keen eye for detail. Especially Lisbeth who could really hack into files and discover old news clippings that could be related to the case. If you read your fair share of thrillers, you could even guess who’s the perpetrator towards the end of the movie.

Mark your calendars because the two sequels open in Singapore on:
September 16, 2010 – The Girl Who Played With Fire
October 21, 2010 – The Girl Who Kicked The Hornet’s Nest