Taken 2 – Review

Taken 2 – Review

Review by FilmFellaHenry – 5.5/10

Since saving his daughter from a prostitution syndicate in Taken, Bryan Mills (Liam Neeson) has an almost peaceful life: regular jobs around the world, daughter Kim (Maggie Grace) has a new boyfriend and there’s even a chance of getting back together with his ex-wife Lenore (Famke Janssen). The same cannot be said however, for Murad Krasniqi (Rade Serbedzija), the grieving father of a man Mills killed on his previous adventures. Plotting retribution, Krasniqi devises a plan to kidnap Mills and his family during a stay in Instanbul, where he can mete out rough justice.

Judging by the significant commercial success of Taken (its $25 mil budget was covered by the US opening weekend alone), I suppose it’s not surprising that a second film would be quick in the making. And it’s also unsurprising to see writers Luc Besson and Robert Mark Kamen eschew interesting narrative in favour of what is in essence one long combat-fuelled chase sequence.

Disrobed of any delusions that the plot will captivate, I found myself increasingly under whelmed by the offerings of director Olivier Megaton (who’s on my fail list anyway after the rubbish Columbiana). It’s not that I dislike action-driven films: I’m quite happy watching The Raid, 300, Shoot ’em Up, Rambo etc. I just expect that if a movie is predominantly about the action, it should at least be done well. Taken 2 does not do this.

For a start, it all gets a bit silly, rather quickly. While I could understand the villains’ motives in Taken, Krasniqi’s plan for revenge seems both ill-thought out and morally dubious, considering: a) Krasniqi’s son kind of invited a grim end by kidnapping Kim in the first place; and b) if Mills was dangerous when they captured his daughter, imagine the shit storm when his ex-wife is added to the mix. Then we have the rescue plan itself: beginning with Kim running through Istanbul throwing grenades all over the place (in a bizarre plan to locate her father), she then steals a taxi for a high speed mash up through the city’s streets, before smashing her way into the US embassy dodging fire from kidnappers, police and armed soldiers. And she doesn’t even have a drivers license.

I could live with the absurdity if it was well executed and retained a tongue-in cheek feel (The Good The Bad The Weird for example). However, as with its predecessor, Taken 2 seems intent on taking itself seriously, while Megaton clearly has no idea how to direct action. There are so many close-ups, with so much fast cutting and shaky camera work that combat sequences just become nonsensical. The large set pieces (few as they are) are contextually overly elaborate (in one scene, I counted eleven different shots of a pursuing car flipping over) and ultimately, as we all know Mills is a badass, the outcome to any confrontation is predetermined.

Characters offer no surprises: 2 dimensional and unevolving, Mills stands out in particular, for his refusal to progress and actually learn something. Rade Serbedzija could have had potential as a sinister villain, but sadly he is reduced to a bland, dishonourable bad guy who is merely an ineffective challenge for the protagonist to hurdle.

In summary, Taken 2 is generally a waste of time. Fans of the first film may see enough elements of the original to experience a passing enjoyment, however I doubt even they will deny that it is a substantially weaker film. Avoid.

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About filmfellahenry
Film reviewer, script writer and occasional painter. Fan of Lumet, Aronofsky and Kubrick, with a good measure of early John Carpenter thrown in. Particularly like post-apocalyptic sci-fi, horror and fantasy film genres.

3 Responses to Taken 2 – Review

  1. Mark Walker says:

    Sounds like a whole bunch of Sh*t Henry. I’ll be giving this one a wide berth.

    • filmfellahenry says:

      A wise choice my friend. Watching The Vanishing instead would be time better spent. Thanks for reading!

  2. conordcfc says:

    I despised this movie, but nice review on your part! Check out my own when you have the time http://conordcfc.wordpress.com/2012/10/12/film-review-taken-2-2012/

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