Going into ‘Taken 2′, as possibly the only person on the planet to have never seen the first, I was sceptical. I didn’t have a personal vendetta with the first film, or Liam Neeson, or anything, I just never got round to watching it. Being persuaded into seeing the second, box-office topping movie, I was prepared to give it a chance. It was laughable. Wooden characters, ridiculously over-blown plot, dialogue, scenarios, you name it, it was bad.
It picks up with the stereotypical Albanian relatives of the criminals that Liam Neeson tore apart in the last film (or so I am told), vowing to gain revenge for their loss. All well and good. Then we get some bizarre sub-plot that involves Bryan Mills (but I’ll just call him Liam Neeson), and his daughter’s driving test woes. WHO CARES?! It’s a good half-an-hour before we see any action, which, let’s be honest, is what the audience have paid to see, and even then it’s not all that. My friends who forced me to see the film, had informed me of the brutal way Neeson swept through his daughter’s kidnappers last time out. This time, we get quick camera cuts, a direct influence of the film downgrading it’s certification from 15 down to 12A, it’s difficult to tell who’s killing who, who’s on top in each fight, such is the poor editing and speed of the cuts.
Then there’s the storyline, and its overblown, ridiculous nature. If you’ve seen the trailer, then you’ll know the twist to this tale, is that this time Neeson and his estranged wife, who suddenly seem to have reconciled, are taken and his daughter, played by ex-Lost ‘star’ Maggie Grace, is charged with the task of saving them. What follows is a reckless way of Neeson finding out his location, by telling his daughter to bombard the city of Istanbul with grenade after grenade, to which the seemingly lax police service pay zero attention. At this point, the laughter had began, and rarely stopped. Set-piece after ridiculous set-piece follows, including a couple of car and rooftop chase scenes that make you reconsider staying in the cinema any longer, becoming more and more clichéd with every event that passes. Then, the villains, oh the atrocious villains.
Yes, they have perfectly fine and great motives, but my god they are stupid. Failing to notice Neeson carries a mini-phone in which he is essentially guiding Grace to his location, leaving an ex-CIA agent on his own for extended periods of time and barely even cutting his wife, never mind threatening her life. The concluded ‘battle’, if you can call it that, was underwhelming, me and my friends couldn’t actually believe it. You’ll be waiting for something good, and just not get it, a factor that runs throughout the entire length of the film’s 90 minute length.
Liam Neeson does do a good job, only just, but he manages to keep things ticking along, in what is a scattered mess of a sequel. I’ll give the first a go, hoping it’s nowhere near as bad as this effort. Sure it’ll probably be a good fix for fans of the first, as proven by the huge numbers it has posted in the US ($50million) and the UK (£7million, surpassing the entire haul of the first!), which, unfortunately for everyone else, means we might have to endure a ‘Taken 3′. What else can be taken?! A guinea pig? A toaster? I didn’t like this film, and hopefully will never see it again, £3.00 (Orange Wednesday before you ask) down the drain, but a lot of laughs were had, which is the only reason why this action flick doesn’t get a 0/10!