In truth, I never really understood how the original Taken found such an admiring audience. I found it to be a run-of-the-mill by-the-book action film that offered nothing in terms of originality unless you count having the awkwardly framed Liam Neeson go all action hero on us.
I wasn’t the only one who thought unkindly to the $226 million grossing (now) franchise. The distribution studio didn’t have much faith in the film either. It was released in Europe over a year before its North American premiere and was expected to be a straight-to-DVD title until an opening in the release schedule allowed them to throw the film out in early January of 2009.
Being a quarter of a billion dollar success, there was no doubt that a sequel would be fast tracked and this week we now see the results of the efforts with the uniquely titled Taken 2.
In Taken, retired CIA operative Bryan Mills (Neeson) travels to Europe to find and rescue his daughter who was kidnapped while vacationing in Paris. In Taken 2, Bryan and his wife are taken hostage by the father of the kidnapper that Mills killed while trying to rescue his daughter in the first film. Simple? You bet. Good? No chance.
Taken 2 all but assures that there won’t be a Taken 3. The screenplay as penned by Luc Besson (The 5th Element) and Robert Mark Kamen is routinely bad and makes The Transporter franchise feel like Inception in comparison. Neeson comes out of the project unscathed, but this isn’t exactly the film that will be pilfered for highlight reel material during any kind of Liam Neeson tribute in the future.
Taken 2 does have its share of chases and fight sequences, but none of them are overly engaging and the choreographing of the fights was poorly crafted and at times even confusing as to who was who and who was winning.
The humor in Taken 2 was equally ‘off’. None of the intended scenes of funny bone tickling worked and only the serious speeches by Neeson’s Mills had me smiling from ear to ear in a you’ve-got-to-be-kidding kind of way. Well, that and how Mills is able to use geometry and a map to do some Sherlock Holmes type deducing that was beyond my level of plausible allowance.
There are plenty of punches, grenades, fast car chases and machine gun fire to possibly keep the simple minded movie goer occupied, but not us. We thought Taken 2 to be a waste of time and talent. A worse than lackluster attempt to use obnoxiously ludicrous ideas and throw them like a plate of spaghetti at the wall to see what sticks. I wish Taken 2 had been exactly that – taken from the theatre projection booth so that I didn’t have to endure it.
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Yeah my girlfriend and friends all love Taken and it was not that good at all. Glad someone shares my view. If I do go to the movies this will take priority over Looper which I am dying to see. Stupid casual audiences. If you want to see this done well go back to the 70's or even to harry Brown.
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I dunno, it seems like if you need someone to take you through your own kidnapping, Liam is your man.