“I don’t know who you are. I don’t know what you want… If you let my daughter go now that’ll be the end of it. I will not look for you. I will not pursue you. But if you don’t, I will look for you. I will find you. And I will kill you.” Those were the words spoken by Bryan Mills to his daughter’s kidnappers in 2008’s action hit Taken. Coming virtually out of nowhere, Taken was a surprisingly adrenaline fueled action thriller with a fresh reintroduction of Liam Neeson. Since its original release, Neeson has become arguably the biggest action star in Hollywood today, which is impressive given that he is 60 years old. With a handful of appearances in major films ranging from Christopher Nolan’s Dark Knight Trilogy to this years mesmerizing The Grey, Neeson has crossed the line of being bad-to-the-bone and has captivated audiences with his true energetic charisma on screen. But as much as I love Neeson’s work in the original Taken and even more in The Grey, it is unfortunate, but unsurprising, when I say that Taken 2 is… pretty bad.
It seems that 2012 has been the year for sequels. From the fantastic Dark Knight Rises to the less than fantastic, but still entertaining, Men In Black III, sequels have been spreading like wildfire, and it only makes since for one of them to suck. Well, its October, and that open position goes to Taken 2. This is one of the most mindless, unintentionally laughable, and ultimately disappointing sequels in recent memory.
It can be expected for me to say that Liam Neeson does a good job in the role, and he does. It is the script by Luc Benson and Robert Mark Kaman that feed Neeson terrible lines, forcing him to say them, hopefully, against his will. The same cannot be said for Famke Janssen who, although incredibly hot in the film, is as bad of an actress as ever, reading lines that cause wincing from the audience. Maggie Grace returns just as she was: a 30 year old who looks nothing like a 19 year old but decides to play a 19 year old anyway… even though she has no idea how to act. Its all sloppy here.
Even more sloppy is the direction, which is, in my opinion, some of the worst camera work I have seen in a long time. What made the original Taken so awesome for me was the spectacular action scenes and fight choreography. None of that is present here as director Olivier Megaton (Transporter 3… yeah, another franchise ender) uses the zoom effects way too frequently and uses so many cuts far too quickly it makes the film almost flinchingly unwatchable. This film felt like the director read the script after he had already signed on, realized it sucked, then added his own aspects to make things more appealing to the audience, which really came off as nothing but desperate. Example: let’s have Maggie Grace run around her apartment in a bra and panties because obviously that’s what the public wants. Sigh. Haven’t seen that gimmick in a while (sarcasm).
***[SPOILER ALERT]*** There is a scene (an incredibly stupid scene) where the “bad guys” cut Janssen’s characters throat, hangs her upside down, and tells Neeson (who is chained up) that he has thirty minutes to watch his wife bleed out. Fair enough. But then they make one of the dumbest decisions anyone can make: they leave Mills, alone, with her. Earth to bad guys. You are dealing with Liam Neeson. The guy who killed well over 30 people single handedly to rescue his daughter and you don’t think he can manage to get out of a pair of chains. Give me a freaking break. Also, there is a scene when Neeson is chained up, once again alone (sigh) and he is talking to Kim, his daughter, through an electronic device. He is telling her how to locate him is by using a map and a pencil, (which I found very cool, by the way). But then he tells her to pull the pin on a grenade and throw it out the window onto a roof so he can hear the explosion and process his location. And then, nothing comes of it. No cops chase her. No panic. Nothing. Really? It‘s all terrible. ***[END SPOILER]***
There is really nothing more to be said about Taken 2. It is a dumb, effortless, pointless, and overall worthless “action” film that has unintentionally laughable moments and some of the worst camera work in recent memory.
Run Time: 93 mins
Rated: for intense sequences of violence and action, and some sensuality
Starring: Liam Neeson, Maggie Grace, Famke Janssen, Rade Sherbedgia, Luke Grimes
Writer(s): Luc Benson, Robert Mark Kaman
Director(s): Olivier Megaton