Taken 2 is exactly what one should expect. It’s a simple action movie that defies logic and reasoning, but shows the gravitas of newly minted action star Liam Neeson as he dominates the screen with scowls and promises to take out anyone that crosses him or his family. This would be a great and fun movie – if we hadn’t seen it four years ago. Now it just comes off like another episode to an action television show and we’re just wondering what shenanigans the Mills family can get out of this time.
It’s now two years after the events of the first movie, where Bryan Mills (Neeson) is making efforts to be more involved in his daughter Kim’s life (Maggie Grace). His ex-wife Lenore (Famke Janssen) has separated from her previous husband and ever the observant one, Mills offers them a trip to Istanbul, Turkey to get their minds off of things and bond as a family.
However, there are some pissed off people in Eastern Europe that want some revenge, led by Murad (the always stereotyped Eastern European baddie Rade Serbedzija). You see kids, his son was the one that was electrocuted at the hands of Mills in the last movie and Murad thought that was a bit of a dick move. So he comes up with the plan: you take my family, I’m going go after yours. Obviously, if your son is selling sex slaves and kidnapping daughters, it’s really a circle of going after people’s families. It’s the vicious cycle people!
Let’s start with the positives. Liam Neeson is a badass. He always brings a dimension of depth to his projects where he can harness his scowling and anger and make it seem like he’s always on a mission. It could be saving his daughter, teaching her to parallel park, or buying a gallon of milk – believe me, he’s going to do it and kick ass while finishing the task. He could have easily of collected his paycheck on this movie, but knowing the movie centers on his emotion (or lack of), he carries the movie on his back in order to keep us interested in what’s happening next. Unfortunately, the film’s script and action betray him throughout this 90 minute mess.
The rest of the cast is serviceable, but it doesn’t allow anyone to shine outside of what the one-note characters are in the script. I will say that Maggie Grace is better in this movie than the last. I only say that because she’s my age, and in the last one, she played it way too young and it was distracting. Granted, she’s taking a driving test (which I guess comes in handy later) in the beginning of this movie, but at least she doesn’t make it too cute and is more subtle in her delivery. Janssen is fine but again, the character does not allow her for much to work with other than be frightened and bleed. This is supposed to just be a fast action movie dammit, we ain’t got time to bleed!
Here’s the main problem with the movie: it’s boring and outdated. The action is shot with a Bourne-like style of shaky cam, but the cuts are too frequent where we don’t even see the action and choreography. It’s the same exact story too, only it defies even more logic than the previous one. At least the last one was a slow burn into the conclusion. This is just plain action sequences on the screen, get from point A to point B. The timeline is so quick that instead of getting the feeling of non-stop action, you end up questioning why this is happening at all. Kim is instructed by Bryan to find him using grenades to track distance and rescue him. Why would a father who stopped at nothing to keep his daughter safe, and a few years later after that traumatic event, go ahead and tell his daughter to put her own life into danger by going straight into the fray?
The appeal of the last movie was a father who would stop at nothing to keep his baby girl safe, and this just flies in the face of that. Again, I’m normally not one to use logic in trying to enjoy an action movie but if it’s the overriding ideal of the movie franchise, to ignore it just shows this movie isn’t meant to provide the same intrinsic impact the previous film had on the audience.
At the end of the movie, there were people clapping when the credits stopped rolling. I said out loud to anyone that could hear me to stop clapping. The movie doesn’t deserve the applause for the laziness that was just shown. I kept waiting for something to carry the same spark the last movie had, but it never happened. Most of all, it just wasn’t fun at all. I honestly felt I was watching a mediocre CBS weekly show where we find out what shenanigans the Mills family got into this week. I wonder what illogical mess they will get into the next movie…