Taken 2 (2012)

taken2_2012_poster
Taken 2 (2012)
  • Time: 92 min
  • Genre: Action | Crime | Thriller
  • Director: Olivier Megaton
  • Cast: Liam Neeson, Maggie Grace, Famke Janssen

Storyline:

The retired CIA agent Bryan Mills invites his teenage daughter Kim and his ex-wife Lenore, who has separated from her second husband, to spend a couple of days in Istanbul where he is working. Meanwhile, the patriarch of the community of the Albanese gang of human trafficking, Murad Krasniqi, seeks revenge for the death of his son and organizes another gang to kidnap Bryan and his family. Bryan and Lenore are abducted by the Albanese, but Kim escapes and is the only hope that Bryan has to escape and save Lenore.

4 comments

  • I really loved the first movie but I was a little bit concerned about the sequel. When I saw the trailer, I got a good feeling and I wanted to see this one! For a sequel it was ok, I never got bored at all. The action-scenes were really nice and exciting, but off course the end is a little bit predictable. Anyway, good movie, with a great Liam Neeson!

  • (Rating: 3 / 5) It is impressive that “Taken 2” is hated by almost everyone, even fans of the first part. It has its obvious flaws, but still a competent and entertaining action movie. The first strange thing that disturbs is the inconsistent change of scenery: from the urbanity of France to Istanbul, which does not coincide with the films about daily kidnappings, but is more typical of the spy genre. It is true that Liam Nesson is an expert in combat and ex-CIA agent, but no longer a mundane character, hardly credible to survive in such a radical territory (unlike the underworld of the slums of France, where the agent has a more acceptable survival and knowledge rates); besides being sent to Istanbul to work as a bodyguard, that’s absurd: Do not hire bodyguards in the own country? The second negative element is the plot, which shows the limitations of the franchise. In its way, the writers of “Die Hard” saga acceptably could expand it in the second and third film; while “Taken 2” just stir the footsteps of its predecessor, and as they did not know what to do with Maggie Grace, writers put her to waste time in a silly subplot with her driving license. But the central node suffers from a lack of logic: considering the number of dead from the first Taken, How many resentful parents are there?? And the last point is the action, which is increased but diminishing the ingenuity of its predecessor: the grace of “Taken” was not the action but the ingenious traps that Nesson proffered villains, besides taking a subject that public are interested in such as the people trafficking. Here are a few pseudo-military tricks (the map and the bizarre explosions; Nesson memorizing the sounds). “Taken 2” is a normal action routine between MacGyver and Chuck Norris, sometimes the camera is too fast (perhaps to hide the shortcomings of Liam Nesson, which looks very old, even more than in “Non-Stop”); but overall it is not a hyper-failure. It will not be what fans wanted, but… pleasant entertainment.

  • Pierre Morel’s Taken (2008), a tough, disturbingly xenophobic thriller in which Liam Neeson’s grizzled former CIA operative Bryan Mills took down a gang of sleazy criminals in Paris, was hilariously bad. But, in its defence, it was at least hilarious, etching Mills and his ‘particular set of skills’ into action lore. Taken was a surprise box-office success, igniting the recent wave of codgers-dealing-out-some-old-school-brutality films which the likes of Denzel Washington, Kevin Costner and Sean Penn have embraced to varying success, and proving that audiences still have a thirst for that kind of thing.

    So inevitably came the sequel, and the producers cannot be blamed for trying to squeeze their new franchise for every penny it’s worth before the genre naturally reverts back to straight-to-DVD. What they, as well as the writers and director (franchise-newcomer Olivier Megaton – no, not the infamous Decepticon, though he may have done a better job), can be blamed for, is for putting the audience through the same exact experience again, only without the originality (I use that term loosely) or a coherent action scene. There’s plenty of running, punching, kicking, shooting, stabbing etc., but Megaton is so busy waving his camera around and cutting every second that we are left relatively clueless about what is going on, or who anybody is.

    Not that this matters – unless it’s Mills, his ex-wife Lenore (Famke Janssen) or his daughter Kim (Maggie Grace) – then they’re toast, especially if they have thick stubble and are wearing a leather jacket. A gang of Turkish mobsters led by Murad (go-to Eurosleaze Rade Serbedzija) vow vengeance for their brothers and sons who died at the hands of Mills during the events of the first film. After completing a routine security operation in Istanbul, Mills is joined by his ex-wife and daughter for some family time. Only, Mills and Lenore are ‘taken’, leaving Kim alone to locate her father so he can do what he does best and unleash his special skills on the scumbags.

    Simply recycling what came before is unforgivable in itself, but going about it in such bland, formulaic and increasingly ridiculous ways make the experience even more torturous. The movie has one simple message – America good, the rest of the world bad. L.A. is shot in glorious sunshine amongst the safety of middle-to-upper class suburbia, while Istanbul consists of dingy alleyways and overweight men puffing cigarettes in cockroach-infested rooms. This casual xenophobia may have waved somewhat if the film delivered any thrills at all, but it doesn’t, and fizzles out with a weak climax. Neeson somehow manages to come away from it all unscathed again (and with his wallet no doubt heavier), but his ability to make lines such as “when a dog has a bone, the last thing you want to do is try and take it from him,” sound like Oscar-bait does not save Taken 2 from complete disaster.

    Rating: 1/5

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  • Often when I criticize a movie like Skyfall for half-baked plots and shallow characterization, what I hear in response is, “Whatever, it’s just a mindless action movie.” But I don’t believe that’s true. A movie decides what it’s going to be – Daniel Craig’s Bond was a deviation from previous movies in that it wanted to be thoughtful and have more depth than its predecessors. It aspired to something that it didn’t quite achieve.

    Taken 2, however, has no pretensions. It knows exactly what it is – car chases, explosions, and gravelly-voiced Liam Neeson. Everything else is just the glue that gets us from one fight scene to the next.

    Yes, the family dynamic is ridiculous. Famke Janssen’s new husband has conveniently shifted from all-around nice guy in the first movie to an unseen heartless monster who “Canceled our trip to China! How could he DO this to us?!?” Which sets Famke up for some friendly comfort (and a spontaneous international getaway!) with her ex, Liam Neeson. Does it make sense? Not a lick.

    And there is definitely some awkward acting, as forced by an awkward script. Janssen and Maggie Grace giggle and smile brightly and flip their hair and gush “Oh, you’re the BEST!” like they’re flirting with Liam Neeson to get a free drink at the bar.

    But you know what? I DON’T CARE. Because all we need to know is that Liam Neeson cares about these people and some evil Albanians are threatening them and he will MAKE. THEM. PAY. They throw in a few lines about violence begetting violence and ending the cycle and blah blah don’t care back to shooting.

    The action scenes are so fantastically well-executed I was blown away. The shaky cam heightened the tension. The frantic violins in the background made my heart race.

    Maggie Grace was more mature and infinitely less annoying in this movie than in the first, which is really all I ask. I didn’t care that she was setting off grenades in a major metropolitan area apparently without attracting any attention, or that she suddenly went from incompetent behind the wheel to master stick-shifter and stunt driver. I was fully invested in this movie, and because it delivered on its core promise – thrills and excitement – nothing else matters.

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