Taken sparked a four-year love affair between Liam Neeson and I (one-sided though the love affair is…). Needless to say Taken 2 was marked as a highlight on my movie calendar this year. Sure I expected it to fall victim to the curse of the sequels and be crap, but the anticipation was still there…so how does it measure up?
Well the answer is simple: Taken 2 does not measure up to Taken in any shape or form. But really did you expect it to?!
Taken 2 picks up soon after Taken 1 left off, with the opening credits showing the many coffins that are a result of Neeson’s overly protective Daddy-rage in Taken 1. We then see the family of his victims swear vengeance and the film starts putting along with the scorned family embarking on a quest to kidnap and kill Neeson, his ex and his daughter.
It’s surprising to note Taken 2 is written by the same screenwriters that penned Taken (Luc Besson and Robert Mark Kamen). Clearly the three year break between the two films was not enough to think up of any more good ideas (perhaps they used them all up for Taken 1?): the storyline is pretty darn flimsy.
It’s apparent from the get-go this is going to be a poor script with corny dialogue and a one-dimensional badie. Remember this spine-tingling Taken moment: *insert gravelly, extremely low Neeson voice* “I don’t know who you are, but if you don’t let my daughter go… I will find you…and I will kill you” Awesome stuff! No repeats of this kind of genius here I’m sorry. The script is a real slap bang job. This was my first disappointment: how can the two people who were so invested in the first film be so lazy the second time around? Surely they’d want to take their baby and use this opportunity to help it grow? Wouldn’t you know expectations were high and try to ‘go one better’? Apparently not. Dollar signs were the motivating factor here my friends!
Storyline aside I was sure the fight sequences would pull us through with the uber cool fight choreo from Taken still fresh in my mind. Another disappointment here I’m afraid: The fight scenes are full of rapid and aggressive editing preventing us from really getting a good look at what is going on. Judging by Neeson’s lumbering run and the audible creak of his bones as he picks himself up off the ground, I’m guessing he is a little past his action hero days now and perhaps editing that way was a necessity… *sob*
Needless to say, there are still some cool moments where old Liam gets to flex his one remaining muscle: his brain. I fell in love with him all over again as he awoke tied up in a basement and coolly executed some super sexy logic to determine his location in a grand total of three minutes. Tasty stuff. So the film isn’t entirely worthless.
Taken 2 lacks the intelligence, mystery, urgency and grittiness of Taken. Somehow the studio used over three times the budget of Taken 1 and produced a sequel that is about a third of the quality – go figure!
Hmmm… I think I should just shut up now. Have I turned you off ever seeing this film? If so, that is not my intention. It’s not the worst film out there. I still enjoyed it, infact I had a tonne of fun, and you probably will too. But it’s mindless and not a pinch on the original.
I award Taken 2 5 stars out of 10