Taken 2 Review

Sequels can be a tricky thing.

It can go one way and totally surpass the expectations of the first film and create something incredible like Terminator 2 or it can be like Terminator 3 and be considered a cringe-worthy cinematic regret of a joke.

Unfortunately for Taken fans like me, Taken 2 is the latter.

Liam Neeson returns as Bryan Mills, the retired CIA agent that scoured the city of Paris to save his teenage daughter from being sold and lost in the world of human sex trafficking.

Since Paris, his relationship with daughter Kim has strengthened and even ties with his ex-wife Lenore, played by Famke Janssen, have warmed up a bit since a somewhat messy separation from her current beau.

So everything seems relatively normal.

To distract Lenore from her marital problems, Mills invites her and Kim to join him in Istanbul; but when they arrive it takes less than 24 hours til the same Albanian gang from Paris track them down.

Ok, so on the surface Taken 2 has everything; same cast, same writers, bigger gun fights, brawls, car chases and inevitable explosive crashes.

But what a difference a different director makes.

Olivier Megaton has taken over from where original auteur Pierre Morel left off, delivering a poorly executed, shallow, rushed, predictable and sub-par action film with a flawed plot that’s laden with clichéd one liners.

When asked what he was going to do to the men attacking his family, Mills’ one reply was, “I’m gonna do what I do best”.

A far cry from the bad-ass monologue from the first film, “I don’t know who you are. I don’t know what you want. But I will look for you. I will find you. And I will kill you.”

There wasn’t any need to make a sequel and this is just another example of typical Hollywood big-wigs wanting to squeeze more money out of a good thing.

Please see the entire Saw franchise.

Come to think of it, don’t.

While the idea of resurrecting Bryan Mills so he can kick some more ass seemed like a good idea, Taken 2 is a regrettably forgettable attempt.

From the weak storyline and total lack of any context, the new but essentially same “bad guys” or the hectic and nauseating cinematography of the action scenes.

Plot holes the size of Istanbul make events even harder to swallow than they need be. I mean people setting off hand-grenades on roof tops in the middle of an urban metropolis is totally normal and won’t cause local authorities to investigate?

Really?

It’s not all bad though, Janssen gives a good performances with her larger role in this film and, of course, Neeson does what he does best.

He’s still a bad-ass and makes you wish he was your own dad, ex-husband or any member of your immediate or extended family come to think of it.

While shots of The Blue Mosque were beautiful and very impressive, most of the scenes were almost all in the same kind of environment throughout the entire film – dark and dingy abandoned lairs, failing to enhance any of the visuals.

If I can describe this film in a sentence it’d go a little something like this; Taken 2 is kind of like Terminator 3 or Lana Del Rey: completely unnecessary, full of hype and probably shouldn’t have been made.

Katherine Curnow

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October 2012
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