- The film Sound of Freedom, despite its inaccuracies, is no different from other based-on-a-true-story films that undergo creative exaggeration.
- Sound of Freedom shares similarities with the Taken film series, featuring former government agents who battle sex traffickers to save people.
- While a sequel to Sound of Freedom seems likely if it were a fictional film, the decision to make a sequel will be determined by its impact on raising awareness about child trafficking, rather than financial motivation.
Perhaps the most unfair criticism of the action film Sound of Freedom is the criticism of the film’s accuracy, as while the film undoubtedly contains a significant amount of creative exaggeration, this is probably no more egregious than what exists in countless other based-on-a-true-story films, especially genre films, most of which become essentially fictionalized after being put through the Hollywood assembly line.
Indeed, if Sound of Freedom hadn’t been based on a true story, the film might have been compared to the 2008 action-thriller film Taken, as both films feature protagonists who are former United States government agents who enter the lurid world of sex trafficking to find missing people.
In Sound of Freedom, Tim Ballard, a real-life former government agent, played by Jim Caviezel, attempts to rescue children from sex traffickers in Colombia. In Taken, former government agent Bryan Mills, played by Liam Neeson, travels to France to rescue his daughter after she’s abducted by Albanian sex traffickers.
Moreover, the trajectory of the journey of both of these protagonists, fictional and real, is also very similar, as while Ballard and Mills both accomplish their immediate goals, there remains a seemingly inexhaustible source of residual evil for them to confront in subsequent films.
Bryan Mills and Tim Ballard: A Similar Path
If Tim Ballard, the protagonist of Sound of Freedom, was a fictional character, like Bryan Mills, a sequel to Sound of Freedom would be inevitable since the film has presently grossed more than $170 million at the domestic box office, more than any of the three Taken films. However, Sound of Freedom has yet to be released overseas, where the Taken films grossed more than $550 million.
Accordingly, if Ballard was a fictional character, it’s easy to imagine that a Sound of Freedom sequel would follow the traditional format of action-based sequels, as evidenced by 2012’s Taken, in which Bryan Mills is targeted by the vengeful brother of one of the traffickers whom Bryan murdered in Bryan’s quest to rescue his daughter in the first film.
As it’s easy to imagine that Tim Ballard has also acquired similarly dangerous enemies, a revenge-based plotline would ordinarily seem to be the most likely direction for a Sound of Freedom sequel to take, just as a third Sound of Freedom film could easily follow the same formulaic, listless trajectory as that of 2014’s Taken 3, in which Bryan Mills essentially functions as a one-man killing machine.
Since Ballard is a real person, and since the horrendous examples of trafficking that are portrayed in Sound of Freedom are, sadly, still prevalent throughout the world, a Sound of Freedom sequel can either be based on more of Ballard’s purported experiences with human trafficking or simply abandon reality altogether and essentially transform Ballard, through Jim Caviezel, into a fairly standard action hero who essentially exists as a hybrid of Tim Ballard and Bryan Mills.
Tim Ballard: An International Action Hero
One of the most striking points of commonality between Sound of Freedom and the Taken films, besides the similar respective journeys of protagonists Tim Ballard and Bryan Mills, is the global nature of Sound of Freedom and the Taken film series, as while the Taken films take place in Los Angeles, France, and Istanbul, Sound of Freedom takes place in California, Columbia, and Honduras.
As Ballard’s quest is seemingly eternally open-ended, given the pervasiveness of human trafficking throughout the world, and as Ballard himself claims to have rescued kidnapped children all over the world, primarily in undeveloped countries, a Sound of Freedom sequel would almost certainly take Ballard, as played by Jim Caviezel, outside of the United States and further establish Ballard as a global action hero in the vein of Bryan Mills.
Of course, for Ballard to become an international action film hero, like Bryan Mills, Sound of Freedom not only needs a sequel but also overseas distribution, which is scheduled to materialize in the near future, as while Sound of Freedom has eclipsed each of the Taken films at the domestic box office, along with supposed blockbuster films like Indiana Jones and the Dial of Destiny and Mission: Impossible – Dead Reckoning Part One, Sound of Freedom has yet to generate even a single penny at the overseas box office.
Should (And Will) Sound of Freedom Become a Film Series?
Despite the commercial success of Sound of Freedom, there has been no formal announcement of plans for a Sound of Freedom sequel, and while Sound of Freedom has been described as a labor-of-love project for all involved, especially star Jim Caviezel, who has described the role of Tim Ballard as being the second most important role of Caviezel’s career, behind Caviezel’s titular role in the 2004 biblical drama film The Passion of the Christ, a Sound of Freedom sequel seems to be far from guaranteed.
While there are definite parallels between Tim Ballard and Bryan Mills, Caviezel and Taken film series star Liam Neeson have very different careers, as while Caviezel is certainly no stranger to the action film genre, having appeared in the action films Déjà Vu and Escape Plan, Caviezel has devoted much of his recent career to faith-based films, while Neeson continues to capitalize on the action star persona that the Taken films attached to his career.
Moreover, whereas the continuation of the Taken film series was dictated simply by financial motivation, the stated purpose behind the making of the independently-released Sound of Freedom was to raise awareness about the dangers of child trafficking. Accordingly, it seems that the decision to make a sequel to Sound of Freedom will be less about money and more a question of faith.
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