Film Review – Taken 2

Taken 2 (M)

Directed by: Olivier Megaton

Starring: Liam Neeson, Famke Janssen, Maggie Grace

Three stars

Review by: Julian Wright

The Expendables 2, Bait 3D and Taken 2. It has been a cracker year for so-bad-they’re-good films. It can be hotly debated whether or not these cringe-worthy films are deliberately wretched for the sake of a few laughs. Are the scriptwriters, directors and actors aware that the story and dialogue are so laughably illogical but power through it regardless? Or did they actually think that they were delivering some genuine drama?

It is likely those behind The Expendables 2 had their tongues firmly in their cheeks with the wall to wall action, body parts flying and cheesy one liners. It comes off as a spoof of itself and every other muscle-bound action flick since the 1980s. It would be more at home in the comedy section of your local DVD library. Bait 3D on the other hand, is a little more difficult to tell. Whether or not the laughs are on purpose, how can you hate something that has you in stitches and tears from laughing so hard?

Taken‘s (2008) gritty, no-nonsense approach to a B-grade plot, Liam Neeson’s impressive physicality (the dude is 60!) and commitment made it a surprise hit, but it would appear lightning could not be captured a second time. Eschewing genuine tension for over edited action sequences, emotion for lame dialogue and logic for “cool” sequences, Taken 2 is a pale imitation of it’s not even that great predecessor. One thing Taken 2 does have that the original does not is the unintentional (or is it intentional?) howlers.

Don’t you hate it when the family of a guy you killed while trying to get back your kidnapped daughter from sex traffickers seeks revenge? And it is always at the most inconvenient time. After retired CIA agent Bryan Mills (Liam Neeson) killed countless evil doers to get back his daughter Kim (Maggie Grace) from a sex traffic ring, life has seemingly gone back to normal. Kim is readjusting to life after her ordeal – she is trying to get her driver’s license and also has a new boyfriend. But Bryan is still overprotective. He invites Kim and his ex-wife Lenore (Famke Janssen) on a holiday in Istanbul and they oblige. Before we are reminded why they divorced in the first place – they are extremely chummy and touchy feely here – Bryan and Lenore are snatched by goons hired by Murad Krasniqi (Rade Serbedzija) who is mourning the death of his son in the first film. Clearly he is not aware of Bryan’s capabilities.

Before you can say “what the…?” Kim is running around Istanbul with her Dad on the phone instructing her to detonate grenades around town and playing rally car getaway driver to get her parents to safety. But dealing with terrorists is nothing compared to what Bryan will have to contend with when they get home – Kim’s new boyfriend. Insert eye roll here.

How can you take any of this seriously? It might seem nitpicky, but even the smallest, most basic things don’t make sense – the ladies ooh and aah at the standard hotel accommodation, but moments before we are treated to the lush interior of their Hollywood mansion.  At least it provides giggles. If you can’t get on board with the disappointing, toned down, lacklustre action, you can still have plenty of laughs at the audaciousness of the illogical plot points and horrible dialogue. Pretty much the only thing this film gets right is being consistently bad. You can have a bit of fun with this. I just hope the filmmakers know we are laughing at them, not with them.

2 Responses to “Film Review – Taken 2”

  1. Does he kill anyone by throwing a silver platter at their windpipe? That really sold me on the first Taken.

  2. I despised this movie, but nice review on your part! Check out my own when you have the time

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