Release Date: October 5, 2012
Director: Olivier Megaton
Stars: Liam Neeson, Famke Janssen, Maggie Grace
Runtime: 92 min
Tagline: First they took his daughter. Now they’re coming for him.
I had a bit too much fun trashing this one.
Taken 2 is an occasionally enjoyable, but generally unsatisfying, sequel.
Bryan Mills is going on a business trip (I guess he came out of retirement) to Istanbul, Turkey. His ex-wife Lenore and his daughter Kim tag along after a few days because their own trip got cancelled last minute. What Mills isn’t aware of is, the father of a man he killed on his first mission to rescue his daughter, is out for revenge. Mills must use his acquired set of skills that he acquired over a very long career, and enhanced in the first film, to save his and his family’s lives and get home safely.
I didn’t love this, nor I did like it very much, but I didn’t absolutely loathe every part of it.
I really had a hard time believing some of the content that was happening. There was hardly a suspension of disbelief anymore, because some unbelievable ideas really bothered me. Remember that Robin Williams film, Flubber (1997)? Well if you don’t, there was this little green flexible rubber (I guess, thus flubber) thing that could stretch a long way. Imagine that as my belief of the film, but it’s one of those dud flubber’s that snap really easily. It’s sort of like a rubber band.*
*Maybe I should have just made the rubber band comparison… Oh well, I wanted to use that Flubber reference, okay! I think it’s a little clever, and I only get clever ideas every so often.
Okay, I’ll chat about some of the content that just bothered me.
1. Exotic trips so close together. This seems like it happens only a few months after the events in Paris, so if Kim gets kidnapped there, why would they want to take another trip to an exotic and probably criminal area like Istanbul? How good are the police forces going to be? Just come to Canada or something, we have a great police force. Better yet, why leave the country at all? Go to Hawaii or something!
2. Ninja daughter in training. When did the daughter become so skilled? It’s not like she acquired those skills over a very long career, she only acquired some of them in a 90-minute first film. Okay, it’s all right because they didn’t make her have a shot like an assassin, and she was driving pretty recklessly, but what’s up with that grenade throwing? There’s really no way one could be that accurate with a grenade on their first throw. I guess they could practice with baseballs, but baseballs don’t explode. It doesn’t seem likely at the time. And, she has wicked perfect math skills, and she draws a near-perfect circle. How could one do that under that much stress?
3. Bryan and Kim treat this as if it is an everyday occurrence Lenore, who is just there and makes this pretty messy sequel even longer, freaks out a little bit. But Bryan and Kim had the tendency to just treat it like it happens so often, it might as well be an everyday occurence like walking a dog.
4. Maggie Grace’s age. Maggie, Maggie. We audiences are not this stupid. The gig is up, you sexy 29-year old, you. You’re playing a seventeen (almost eighteen) year old. And, you’re not very convincing.
5. Nearly exact same final showdown as the first one. Mills fights one prime henchmen, and then faces the big old bad guy. Just like in the first one. It’s a similar fighting scene, but it’s just a little more frustrating, as the first one. And, the henchmen has the same exact knife as the prime henchmen in the first one. I know it’s probably like a group knife, but the henchmen was fighting Mills nearly exactly the same way as a primary henchmen in the first one did.
6. Marriage Rebuilding 101, ran by Hollywood. What a great way to try to rebuild a marriage! Get kidnapped, it seems like such a bonding experience! Yeah, what a great way to rekindle a lost relationship.
Okay, I’m done with tearing apart the unbelievable content. Did I miss anything? Probably.
I’ll talk about what was sort of good about it. The same simple premise is used, but it sometimes can be effective, but not nearly as effective as the first. It just drags on in a lot of areas. Admittedly, some of the action sequences were pretty good. Some were better than others, and some were just draining, predictable, and messy. It’s enjoyable at times and pretty quickly paced, but it lost my attention at times.
Now for the next part of it that really bothered me. It’s practically the same premise as the first, or at least extremely similar. It’s like they consulted with The Hangover Part II director Todd Phillips, to see how they could make the same film twice. That brings me to this:
How to Make the Same Film Twice, For Dummies by Daniel Prinn
Step 1: Consult with Todd Phillips, because he’s the one who prominently made the same comedy twice.
Step 2: Go to your documents. Find the screenplay of the first film.
Step 3: Open up a new word document. Okay, do you have it open?
Step 4: Now, go over to the original screenplay: copy it, and paste it to the new document.
Step 5: Now replace with only daughter being kidnapped, to the whole family being kidnapped.
Step 6: And now find every reference to Paris, and replace it with Istanbul.
Step 7: Did you do all that? Okay, good.
Step 8: Put in the mailbox, send it to a big studio like Fox, and start raking in the money.
Some of the flashback visuals, or visuals used when someone is drugged, was just really rough and hard on the eyes. Especially, the opening credits. That was truly bothersome. But, the landscape was admittedly pretty great.
At the beginning, as an introduction to the plot that shall follow, the narrative kept alternating between L.A. and Albania, and it felt like two different plots for the first (approximately) twenty minutes.
If I have learned anything from this action series, it’s that the earth is occupied by many men who are bent on revenge.
The Mills family is just about the family representation of Princess Peach. They just keep getting kidnapped all the time, one would think they would learn from the first film. Though, if you ever get kidnapped, just call Bryan Mills at 1-888-789-TKN2, for assistance to get out of the jam. He’ll help you out.
In one line of dialogue, Neeson even commented on how there will probably be a second sequel. He seemed to say it reluctantly, too.
Taken 2 is a generally unsatisfying sequel that has some enjoyable moments, but also very poor action sequences. The characters are still pretty lame, and no one believes Maggie Grace is really seventeen years old. I probably had more fun reviewing the film than I did watching it. Join us for the inevitable second sequel, where one of these things may just get taken from him: one of his buddies, grandchildren, identity, pet goldfish, or, GOD FORBID, his favourite weapon.