Director: Olivier Megaton
Starring: Liam Neeson, Maggie Grace, Famke Janssen, Rade Serbedzija.
Written by: Luc Besson and Robert Mark Kamen (also based on their characters)
Running Time: 90 mins
Release date: 4th October 2012
In 2008, a pretty average action film made huge waves, mainly due to the presence of its star, Liam Neeson. Taken became a minor hit and a bit of a guilty pleasure. It wasn’t the most original action film in the world, yet it captured the imagination of those who saw it and many now regard it in high esteem. Now we have Taken 2. Does it deliver the same quality of excitement as the first. Absolutely not. Even Mr Neeson can save this from being, not only an incredibly dumb film but a cynical cash-in.
Ex-CIA agent Brian Mills is separated from his wife, Lenore and is very over protected to his daughter, Kim. While working in Istanbul, he invites them to join him. However, the father of the man who kidnapped Kim and who Mills killed, wants revenge. Realizing something is wrong, Mills gets Kim to hide while he and Lenore are taken, leaving Kim alone in the city to aid Mills.
As you would expect, the plot is beyond wafer thin and writer Lucky Besson and Robert Mark Kamen fill in the blanks with a series of set pieces that are meant to excite. The problem is, there’s nothing exciting here and with heavy handed direction from Olivier Megaton (yep, that’s his name!) we end up with a ridiculous bore that only reason for existing is to rip fans of the original off. You end up questioning almost everything!
For example, the father, played with no interest in character development by Rade Serbedzija, wants Mills dead and yet when he has the opportunity to kill him, he decides to hold him hostage instead, like some demented Bond villain, knowing full well that he has killed many beforehand has the capability to escape and maybe kill him too. Then there’s the ludicrous phone conversation as Mills is talking to Kim about hiding in a closet, right in front of his kidnappers.
Let’s not even mention the dumb sequence where Mills gets Kim to throw grenades in order for him to know where he is. And it gets sillier and sillier. Men who are guarding him go off to watch a football match, leaving Neeson alone long enough to be able to escape.Throw in set pieces that are cut at such a rate you haven’t a clue what is happening and the dullest car chase in living memory and it’s not fairing well for Taken 2. Trust me, just because things are moving fast, doesn’t mean they are filled with tension.
Liam Neeson, who was such an important presence in the first film (let’s face it, without him, it wouldn’t have been half as good) looks bored here. Sure, you believe he can handle himself in a fight but he doesn’t so much act but sends him performance in. At the end he says it must stop because he is tired. So are we all, Liam.
And let’s not forget the biggest cash cow evidence. The original film was released as a 15 in the cinemas and an 18 on DVD. The reason being that they are violent and I mean incredibly violent. The torture scene alone merits an 18. Taken 2 is 12A, meaning more people can go see it. Hang on, though. If you are under 12 you can see this with an adult. How is it that someone that young can see a film like this? because the main reason for the first film’s success was the violence. Here it is cut to smithereens that some deaths don’t make any sense whatsoever. A futile and pointless exercise.
Filled with stereotypes and poor cliches, my advice is to avoid this poor sequel and relish in the original. You will regret it otherwise. Please, Take it away!