Review – Taken 2

The man with “a very particular set of skills” returns to remind another cabal of evil-looking Eastern Europeans why messing with Americans is never a good idea.

Taken 2 poster

Taken 2 – Bad, and not in a so bad it’s good way

Taken was an unexpected box office smash on its 2008 release and somehow got away with reinventing Liam Neeson (he of Schindler’s List, let’s not forget) as a credible action star.

Although xenophobic in the extreme and ridiculously over-the-top in its execution, Taken had a B-movie charm that was hard to resist. The inevitable sequel picks up shortly after the events of the original, with the relatives of the dastardly sex traffikers who took Bryan Mills’ (Neeson) daughter and paid with their lives vowing to take their revenge.

Murad (Rade Šerbedžija) orders his men to find and capture Bryan, his ex-wife Lenore (Famke Janssen) and their daughter Kim (Maggie Grace). They get their chance when mother and daughter join Bryan in Istanbul, and before long all hell breaks loose as Bryan and Lenore are taken and it’s left to Kim to evade capture and help them escape (in a reversal of the original’s plot).

Taken 2 is bad, and not in a so bad it’s good way. Take away director Olivier Megaton’s glossy handheld camerawork and the multiple explosions and you’re left with the sort of straight-to-DVD cheapie that Steven Seagal peddles out twice a year.

"Have I mentioned that I have a very particular set of skills? I have? Oh."

“Have I mentioned that I have a very particular set of skills? I have? Oh.”

At least Taken had a couple of memorable moments, not least of which was the “I don’t know who you are. I don’t know what you want…” telephone conversation Bryan has with his daughter’s captor, but Taken 2 feels like what it is, a lazy cash-in that throws in more of everything, including the now obligatory Bourne-aping car chase (featuring Grace whining “I can’t!” every time Neeson tells her to drive faster), while chucking narrative logic out the nearest window.

Judging by the huge returns, it’s safe to say Taken 3 will be heading our way in the next couple of years. But what next? Neeson butchering his way through the male population of Albania? Don’t rule it out. Those evil Eastern Europeans just don’t know when to quit.

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6 comments

  1. filmhipster · December 30, 2012

    Watched this a couple of days ago. Liam showed his age in this one.

    • Three Rows Back · December 30, 2012

      Even though he’d never say it to the film press, he probably isn’t particularly enjoying where his career has ended up, what with this, The A-Team and Battleship. It’s almost as tragic as De Niro parodying his Taxi Driver “you talkin’ to me?” speech in Rocky and Bullwinkle.

  2. meeradarjiyr1 · January 13, 2013

    Great Review! and I totally agree, didn’t like the second one as much as the first! You can read my review here http://meeradarjiyr1.wordpress.com/2013/01/09/taken-2-2012-film-review/

    • Three Rows Back · January 13, 2013

      Thanks Meera. Have read your nicely written review and see you had a very similar reaction! I’ll be honest, I thought Neeson looked like he was collecting the pay cheque here. Have followed your blog; if you like my stuff feel free to follow me!

      • meeradarjiyr1 · January 13, 2013

        Thank you very much for having a read! Yes, I totally agree with you, I wanted more, I wanted there to be a better story and just a better concept. It simply was just predictable, recycled material. Thanks for the follow and Yes I am following you.

      • Three Rows Back · January 14, 2013

        Lovely, thanks very much for that. Look forward to seeing more of your stuff!

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