Taken 2 (2012)
Release Date: October 5th, 2012 MPAA Rating: PG-13
Director: Olivier Megaton Actors: Liam Neeson, Maggie Grace, Famke Janssen, Leland Orser, Luke Grimes, Rade Serbedzija
enerally, sequels attempt to top their predecessors. “Taken 2” just doesn’t seem to care; it unapologetically rehashes the concepts of the original while leaving out the fun parts. The setup offers some suspense and a few intriguing ideas, but monotony sets in rather quickly. The same family encounters the same villains, which leads to familiar kidnappings, rescues, and escapes. Liam Neeson’s stone-faced protagonist still has his useful set of skills, but even when he gets to use them, the camera won’t settle down long enough for the viewer to decipher the results. Almost every action sequence loses its edge from incessantly erratic movements and quick cuts that obfuscate the visuals. Inane plots in adventure films can often be forgiven to a degree, but poorly conceived, incomprehensible stunt scenes are simply inexcusable.
After a security job in Istanbul, former CIA agent Bryan Mills (Liam Neeson) is met with a surprise – his ex-wife Lenore (Famke Janssen) and daughter Kim (Maggie Grace) arrive in the city on vacation. But their peaceful getaway is quickly interrupted when dangerous men from Bryan’s past return to seek revenge against him. Kidnapped along with Lenore, Bryan must once again utilize his unique abilities to elude his captors and save his family.
The setup is obnoxiously strained, pitifully forcing impossible acts onto a tired palette of action movie clichés. “I can’t believe this is happening,” squeaks Lenore, which will inevitably cause nervous chuckles from the audience. When Bryan informs his daughter that he’s about to be taken, full-blown laughter will burst from the crowds. It’s unfortunate that this film also includes deliberately humorous dialogue, as if comic relief is essential in a setting that can’t be taken seriously in the first place. It takes a considerable amount of effort to sidestep the unintentional cheesiness as well as the natural repetition associated with a sequel, and this premise is overflowing with silliness and similarities. The primary difference is in the construction, which fails to realize creativity, singularity, and vigor – traits the predecessor contained enough of to be noteworthy.
“Taken 2” has a “Die Hard with a Vengeance” basis, plus an overbearing father, an annoying, generic daughter, and a wife character that adds nothing but bait for more rescue and revenge. These roles possess an unattainable normalcy, having been through familiar crises before, and therefore an unfeasible believability – the circumstances transcend mere coincidence. Perhaps the only enjoyable aspect of a PG-13-rated Liam Neeson movie is that no one is ever really in danger and no formidable opponents present themselves. Villains are portrayed to be contemptible but do not inflict damage, while heroes are indestructible and impervious to containment. Sadly, the fight choreography is so butchered by frenetic editing that the simple pleasure of watching an antagonist itching to be deservedly dispatched is summarily destroyed. Obscuring the action scenes is significantly detrimental to a film relying solely on car chases, fistfights, and shootouts for amusement.
– The Massie Twins