Taken 2 (2012) Directed by Olivier Megaton. Starring: Liam Neeson, Famke Janssen and Maggie Grace. IMDB says: “In Istanbul, retired CIA operative Bryan Mills and his wife are taken hostage by the father of a kidnapper Mills killed while rescuing his daughter.”
I went into Taken 2 expecting a decent sequel to Taken. I thought I was going to see some cool spy moves and crazy death scenes. I feel like what they did was take the movie into a completely different direction. Taken 2 was almost more of a traditional action movie with mostly gun fights. There were a few scenes with hand-to-hand combat, but they weren’t anywhere near as creative as I would’ve expected. Also, the spy tricks didn’t have the same flare as the ones in the first Taken. Not one trick really got me into the film the way that first movie did.
The acting is very weird in Taken 2. A lot of the lines are delivered in a very jilted way. I don’t recall if the dialogue was delivered that way in the first Taken, but some of the lines in Taken 2 had me notice the acting. Some scenes seemed like they were added for comic relief, but I’m not sure if the writers were truly going for that or to try to make Liam Neeson seem like a more bad ass character. It definitely didn’t always seem like the audience was laughing with the film.
The movie has a solid basis for a sequel to Taken. Obviously, if that many people are killed, someone is going to want to go after that person who committed the acts. The writers didn’t seemed to tighten up the story or want to add any depth while writing this film, though. It would have been fine if they just used this movie as an excuse to shoot more bad ass sequences over a loose plot, but this didn’t turn out to be the case. Basically, the amount of plot they give away in the trailer is all the story you get. The rest is just action, but it’s not much more interesting than the story.
Overall, if you are looking for a solid action movie, Taken 2 may come pretty close to whetting your thirst. This film would probably sit better with the summer blockbusters, but its missing the smarts and fun of the original.
Some may fault me for this, but I’ve never actually seen Taken. I have, however, seen Taken 2. Now you may be thinking I can’t possibly accurately review Taken 2, having never seen the original but that just isn’t the case. Allow me to explain.
I enjoyed this fim. It was action packed. There were exciting gunfights, chase scenes, spy gadgets, and problem solving. These are the critical elements for any action flick. It also had a cohesive storyline, which made sense to the viewer. The dialogue was well written and well executed. The casting was perfect; every actor seemed to have a role that was written just for them. Overall it was a thoroughly enjoyable film.
Now maybe it wasn’t as creative as the original. Maybe it didn’t have the same daring scenes or maybe it was just too repetitive. I don’t know, I never saw the original. That being said, I am evaluating Taken 2 as a freestanding film, not held down by the constraints of the Hollywood establishment. I will not be pigeonholed into considering this as some forced sequel that will never live up to the merits of the original! I watched this film and I enjoyed it, simple as that.
There’s nothing groundbreaking here. It has the same tried and true elements that any action film relies upon and it’s all propelled forward by Liam Neeson excellent portrayal of the main protagonist. He is truly what sets this film apart from your Die Hards and your Steven Seagal films. Sure the cinematography is good. The choice of locations and “mise en scene” is fabulous. There are some breathtaking visuals of Istanbul (or is it Constantinople?). Everything is sort of teetering at slightly above average and that is where this film would be relegated were it not for Liam. This film is a true testament to the power of casting the right person in your film.
Look, at the end of the day, this isn’t winning an Oscar. But don’t let that take away from what I opened with, I enjoyed this film. It’s a fun watch, something you can probably watch a dozen times. Working on homework? maybe pop on some Taken in the background. Why not? It’s a fun movie.
FTS SCORE: 69%
Taken 2 is in theaters October 5th.