Sunday, June 16, 2013

Taken 2

Directed by Olivier Megaton.
2012. Rated PG-13, 92 minutes.
Liam Neeson
Famke Janssen
Maggie Grace
Rade Sherbedgia
Leland Orser
Jon Gries
D.B. Sweeney
Luke Grimes
Kevork Malikyan

In case you've forgotten, Bryan Mills (Neeson) is a man with a very particular set of skills. He showcased them in the first Taken by killing a bunch of bad guys involved in the kidnapping of his daughter. It raked in all sorts of dough at the box office proving the world hasn't lost its penchant for Steven Seagal movies, so long as they don’t actually star Steven Seagal. This time around, the families of the deceased criminals want revenge against our hero. They descend upon Istanbul, where he is working – mostly at reconciling with his baby-mama Lenore (Janssen), herself going through a terrible break-up with her new hubby. Meanwhile, their still traumatized daughter Kim (Grace) hangs out by the hotel pool. She’s the last one to find out that mommy and daddy do indeed get taken. Of course, our hero manages to escape. Now he must work his way back to save his damsel in distress while also keeping his little girl safe.

In a continuation of the right-wing fantasies of its predecessor, itself a throwback to the 80s, Taken 2 does what it sets out to: show us Liam Neeson kicking Middle Eastern ass. Still, this aspect of the film is fun to watch regardless of your socio-political leanings because it is well executed action. Some of it is shot a little too tight for my taste, presumably to mask the star’s lack of athleticism, but it still looks good. Besides, the first thing most viewers will pick up on is that this is a guy trying to save his loved ones. Surprisingly, we take a little longer to get to the meat of the picture this time, but there’s still plenty of it.

Everything surrounding the action is generic, at best. It’s so much so, it feels like a copy and paste job from one of any number of movies. Most egregiously, it drops the ball on the easiest opportunity to build upon its predecessor and include some character development. We already understand Kim is still psychologically suffering from what happened not that long ago. However, being a teenager, she’s still upset when she finds out her old man used GPS to track her down at her boyfriend’s house, a guy he’s never met. Okay, fine. When she presses him on why he would do such a thing he sheepishly offers that he hears a lot of horror stories about things happening to young folks these days. Hears stories? Excuse me? What about the fact that I just recently had to go through hell and high water to rescue your taken ass? No mention of this? Sorry, but I would've had to lay into that ungrateful little…sigh. Let me take a deep breath.

Okay, enough about me. Suffice it to say the fact Bryan doesn't even mention the abduction both he and his daughter are still smarting from proves the people who wrote the movie have no passion for its story and view it as filler until the action starts. Why should we even pay attention when they can’t even be bother to make the hero seem like a real person. He wasn't a very deep guy the first time around, but there was something there. We felt for the guy. This time, he’s even more of a booming-voiced and unstoppable machine. Therefore, we have no reason to do anything other than doze off until we hear a loud noise.

MY SCORE: 5/10

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