Taken 2

“I don’t know who you are. I don’t know what you want. If you are looking for a good movie, I can tell you I don’t have one. But what I do have are a very particular set of skills; skills I acquired in the first movie in this series, and then was forced to abandon the acting skills I had honed over a very long career. If you stop coming to these movies now, that’ll be the end of it. I can move on, I will not have to make another one. But if you do come to this, and I wind up making Taken 3, I will find you, and I will kill you.”

“Taken 2″ picks up shortly after the events of “Taken”. Bryan Mills (Liam Neeson) has returned home to the States, and has brought his daughter (Maggie Grace) home safely, as well. Their current level of difficulty amounts to the fact that she has a new boyfriend, and is having trouble passing her driver’s test. They’re safe. Her mother (Famke Janssen) is separating from the man she married after she divorced from Bryan, leaving the door open for a potential reconciliation.

What none of them are aware of is that the head of the crime organization that Mills decimated in the first movie is bent on revenge. His son was amongst those that Mills murdered in order to save his daughter.

So when Mills accepts a security assignment in Turkey, and his daughter and ex-wife surprise him with an unannounced, spontaneous, international visit, suddenly all of the eggs are in one basket. Mills and his family are set upon by an endless stream of hapless, disposable, low-level, Turkish thugs.

It’s a reasonable excuse to set Neeson up with a new string of bad guys to kill. The revenge part at least. The fact that his ex-wife and daughter:

  • Know where his security detail abroad is
  • Could get there without his assistance, and quickly
  • Would want to go visit him abroad after the trauma his daughter experienced
  • Wouldn’t get immediately sent home by him, especially since they try to establish how overprotective he is now

strains credulity to say the least. Lame, I believe, is the word. I would say that I would have prefered that they had the bad guys come seek the family in America, but that would deprive the film of its strongest asset, which is sadly, the setting.

Finally, the film lacks that “Holy Shit, Liam Neeson is a badass!” surprise element. The first movie was propelled in large part due to the fact that that was a role we couldn’t imagine him in. We’ve seen his action schtick now, though, it’s no longer new. This time we’re left to judge it on its own merits, and truthfully, the action here isn’t very good. For the most part it’s spliced to hell in order to protect Neeson’s lack of actual martial arts ability. The car chases are relatively nondescript as well.

It’s not entirely without merits, it’s always entertaining to hear Neeson giving instructions and/or orders with his Bryan Mills voice. But that’s only going to get you so far. What you’re left with afterwards is a middling action movie, stemming from a sub par setup.

C-

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56 thoughts on “Taken 2

  1. I never either of the films, but when I heard that they made a sequel, I couldn’t believe it. I was like “What is there to make a sequel about? It would just be the same movie again!” Sounds like I was right.

  2. I saw some interview with him where he basically says he did it for the money. He knew it would bring nothing new to the table except a larger bank account. We kind of knew he didn’t have his heart in it.

    • Sad when that happens, isnt it? He shows up and does his best, however, I’m going to give him that. There are SO many stars that absolutely announce that they’re “Only doing it for the check” via their pained, mailed in performances….

      There was none of that here. I mean, not that he was great or anything, but he was a professional and did a decent job.

    • LOL. Thanks Tres! :D I had some fun coming up with that one.

      It certainly did NOT need a sequel. In fact, my biggest beef with this one was the struggle it went through to establish the action. Terrible set up.

      I wish Neeson would stop cashing in. It seems as though for every “The Grey” we get 2 Takens/Titans/Unknowns…. :(

  3. Ah, that’s too bad. I really enjoyed the first one, and had hopes it’d at least stay on par with it. Someone else’s review stated Liam in this proved to be the angriest Irish GPS around. Thanks for the heads up, Fogs.

  4. I didn’t find this to be as bad as most critics but its still just an “ok” movie and one I won’t be in a hurry to see again.

    • It wasn’t insufferable for me… for example, it was still LIGHT YEARS ahead of the crappy “Cold Light of Day” which was released a month ago.

      So, yeah, for me its on the low end of average… bordering on being outright bad.

  5. We agree on this. There were so many stupid things happening. (May be a spoiler so don’t read any further if you haven’t seen this) His daughter is hiding in a closet. So what does he do? Calls her on her cell phone and asks if the guys are still there. If they were, they would have heard either the buzzing of the phone or her talking into it. Then there was the Hollywood gun that fires endlessly. And when are bad guys going to realize that if you’re firing through a wall or door, their target may be laying on the floor to avoid gettin shot. But do they fire at ankle level? No, it’s always chest level. And the chase scene was-seen it too many times to be exciting. As I was sitting in the theater watching this, one of the employees saw me, came up to me and said “Sorry you have to be here”. How right he was.

    • LOL. I hadnt thought of the call her in the closet one :D that’s a good point out.

      I DID however, think of the “When are people going to stop being safe just by lying on the floor?” aspect. I mean, one of these days, the villains are going to realize “Hey, you know, these guys might have DUCKED.

      Thats gonna be a rough day for movie heroes everywhere Al. LOL!

  6. I haven’t seen Taken 2 yet, but after reading all these reviews, I’m kinda getting second thoughts about watching it.
    I did enjoy the first part, though, but my observation is that sequels rarely live up to their former parts. They are, more often than not, disappointments.

    • Welllllllll… nowadays, with franchises and planned trilogies, I dont know that that old wisdom about sequels not being as good as orginals holds true all the time anymore. Practically every superhero movie now, the second chapter is the best…

      That said, it definitely holds true here. This is a shameless knock off of the first, with the barest of excuses for existing in the first place.

      I’d listen to all the reviews in this case Hafsa, and skip this one in the theatres. :D

    • LOL. I had some fun with that.

      You’re right, it lacked everything that made the original a modest success, you know? I think the setup undermined everything, and then the rest wasn’t strong enough to overcome it. :(

      Bummer. I should have enjoyed Liam Neeson kicking ass again.

  7. Sad to see “The Grey”ness go black; sucks that the movie tanked.
    Would it have been better if the daughter launched a singing career touring overseas with a security detail that loses her, and Mills orchestrates a crew lead by Jet Li to recover her in an Expendabilian type force? Maybe just let each plot be unique so there will be more distinct films like “The Grey” and “Taken” (1.0 only) in the future.

    note: 34 days to Bondness – oh yeah (head nodding)

    • 34? Cmon now! Bond Month kicks off here on Tuesday! :D

      Hope you plan on getting your Bond on! LOL

      I dont know what would have saved this movie, S…. it’s like boiling a meal to death and then looking at the resultant goop and saying, more salt, maybe?

  8. If ever the term ‘cash in’ was appropriate, it’s for this film it seems. I havent actually seen this but I have issues with the fact that it even exists to be honest! And surely they could have come up with a better name than Taken 2. It seems the laziness in choosing the name permeated through to the rest of the film.

  9. Big on Bond Tuesday kickoff – Oh yeah; can’t wait! :-)

    James Bond: I always thought M was a randomly assigned initial,
    I had no idea it stood for…
    M: Utter one more syllable and I’ll have you killed.
    -Casino Royale (2006, First Daniel Craig appearance as Bond)

  10. I can’t lie, I LOVED Taken 2. I really did. No, it definitely isn’t brain taxing stuff, and the dialogue most certainly takes a backseat to… well, everything else, but those were already my expectations going into it so there was no room for disappointment on that front. I did, however, expect to be entertained, and on that it delivered.

    Also, I just unashamedly love watching Neeson get his action on. That tired weariness he brings to the role of Mills is what makes me root for the character and want to tell those pesky bad guys to go play with the traffic and leave him be. I also found the continuation from the first Taken to be relatively plausable. That it wasn’t a standalone sequel earns it some points in my book.

    Now, that said, there was one particular moment that did defy all belief, even for me! But I don’t want to be overly spoilery to anyone who’s yet to see it. But it raised my eyebrows for the ‘are you serious?!’ness of it. Aside from that, I’d give it a thumbs up.

    • Curious as to which single moment of that ilk you would pick Jina, seeing as there were so many of them. Was it when she was able to run around the city’s rooftops unchecked, just lobbing grenades around with no repurcussions whatsoever? Or how about that 70 mph chase they have through the crowded city streets without striking a single pedestrian? Or that they could finish by driving through to the US embassy without being blowed up? :D

      I wont kill you too bad for enjoying it, if you’re a big fan of Neeson in this role, I’m sure you’d enjoy it.

      I cant agree with you though, :( For me, this one was much closer to being bad than being good.

      • Haha, so picky :P

        Actually, you missed the one I was thinking of, which was calling up and talking to his daughter right in front of – and in earshot of the baddie taking him hostage and telling her to hide in the closet. The closet?! Yeah, because that ALWAYS works.

        Yeah. Even I can’t forgive that one. The other points you referenced, i’m going to choice ignorance.. what with it being considered bliss an’ all ;)

      • LOL. I know. That whole conversation is ridiculous. How about that fact that in spite of him being surrounded by men with guns intent on kidnapping him, they just let him talk on the phone for a couple of minutes.

        He might as well have said, “Hang on, I’ve got to make a call” Wait, what?

  11. Taken 2 the “Tookening”? Does this make Neeson the Tookenator?(Couldn’t resist) Meanwhile, James Bond turned 50 on Friday and is looking better than ever!

  12. OMG, your first paragraph made me laugh! I’m a huge fan of Neeson and Taken. I was so invested in the first movie that I decided to not go to Paris on my backpacking trip. I was afraid that I was going to be…Taken. My father isn’t like Neeson, but more like Mr. Miyagi from Karate Kid. So, I’m screwed.

    Anyways, I think I’m going to see Taken 2…Ya, you are right, it’s just like the first movie. I’m just a sucker for action movies.

    • LOL. Ok. Well, with hand guns, obviously, Bryan Mills. But hand to hand/unarmed combat? I wouldnt count out Mr Miyagi.

      I can see him giving Mills the Karate Kid 2 “Nose Honk” at the end of a fight after kicking Mills’ ass!

      I guess I maybe didnt clearly state… this one rips off the original. Its nowhere near as GOOD as the original. LOL. As long as we’re on the same page.

      Swing back and tell me you’re right, it was lame what you thought after you see it, Jen! :D

  13. You guys are way too nit picky. I don’t think it was great but it certainly did what it set out to do, let Liam Neeson kick some ass. I wish the end had been a little more cathartic but the fight scenes were excellent and the idea that Bryan can locate himself using the sound of the explosions was fun (if not entirely believable.)

    Reprehensible human beings dispatched by a smart guy protecting his family, how realistic does it have to be to enjoy that scenario. Just call me Paul Kersy and we’ll move on to great films rather than just good Saturday afternoon programmers.

    http://kirkhamclass.blogspot.com/2012/10/taken-2.html

    • Nah, I dont think anyone is being too picky, Richard. This movie is rocking 19% on Rotten Tomatoes right now. LOL. That’s… not good.

      Things dont have to be that realistic to enjoy that sceario… but the “Scenario” was all they had… the way they set the scenario into motion was terrible, and then about 100 different things that happened were ridiculous, and not executed on screen well enough to be enjoyable in spite of the ridiculousness…

      Hey, I showed it mercy. I didnt fail it.

      I’ll grant you two things: Neeson’s character is still a ton of fun, and… ok, I guess I’ll only grant one thing. :D

      • I did think they wussed out on the ending. Daddy Badfellow needed to eat it in a much more dramatic fashion. Like being spiked on a unicorn on a moving merry go round. Oh wait, we saw that one. That’s ok, I’d watch it again.

  14. Found Taken 2 just a bit less enjoyable than the first movie until I got home to find Taken showing on TV. As I watched the original, and was immediately able to compare the two movies, I found myself liking Taken 2 even less but more like a C+.

  15. I’ll probably see this one on DVD, since Neeson being somewhat an action star in those movies will always be a surprising thing for me – he just look like such a dignify gentelman it continues to be weird when he is running around with a gun and beating people up :) That said, I wish he was in more ambitious films.

    • I thought “The Grey” had a certain amount of weight to it, Sati… but as I recall, you hated it. LOL

      It definitely still is a little weird to me, too, to see Neeson shooting a bunch of people and stuff :D He’s surprisingly good at it though!

      Maybe its us that are looking at it the wrong way. Maybe he actually MISSED HIS CALLING and he should have been an action star all these years from the get go! :D

      • But if he did The Schindler’s List would be a much different movie…:)

        Oh God, The Grey. If I saw this and Tree of Life together I’d slip into a coma and never wake up, not even if Idris Elba came to wake me up and rescue me.

        No, I went too far. He would be able to rescue me :)

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