In the first Taken movie Liam Neeson was a retired CIA man with “a particular skill set” whose daughter was kidnapped by some nasty Albanians.
Ultimately, these baddies would end up with a bad case of death by his hand. It was a basic tale of revenge and it was at least somewhat satisfying.
In Taken 2, the tables are turned. Neeson takes his ex-wife and daughter to Istanbul, (because he likes to live dangerously we presume), and it isn’t too long before he and his ex-wife are kidnapped by those seeking to avenge the sons or brothers who died in the first film.
We say, “The first wasn’t that good and it was better than this.”
TAYLOR: Without the extraction of revenge, this film is far less satisfying than the original. Taken 2 is not completely without merit, however, it felt very much like the director was compensating for Neeson going through the paces.
HOWE: Yeah, I know what you mean. The fight scenes were filmed with a frantic pace to them, cut up into so many little bits that you couldn’t see what Neeson was doing to kick these guy’s butts. We’ve seen this done many times in movies to make you feel part of the film, but Taken 2 is done all wrong. Terrible.
TAYLOR: As this movie is all about action fighting, its failure is disappointing. This is par for the course for director Olivier Megaton (the name says it all). He makes disposable films about people who like kicking butt. (Transporter 3, Columbiana.) He’s not nearly as cool as he thinks he is. And Liam Neeson is getting a little long in the tooth for such roles. He just turned 60.
HOWE: Well, that’s probably why Taken 2 only got a PG rating, so Mr. Megaton can be cool for the younger audience that go to watch it.
TAYLOR: On the plus side, the film was shot in Turkey so there are lots of chase scenes through dirty alleyways and over-cramped rooftops. You can almost smell the goats.
HOWE: It’s a turkey in Turkey! I was talking to the girl at the bank who had been to see it. She said she lived in Istanbul for a while, and she was saying that where the alleyway shots were taken when getting chased to the U.S. Embassy, are two completely different locations. Is that another mistake on the movie makers’ part?
TAYLOR: No. Movies are always cheating like that. We just shot a battle scene in Armstrong that takes place in the Yukon. The two are completely dissimilar. People automatically suspend their disbelief once they sit in front of the silver screen. Taken 2 is not particularly hard to swallow, it just has no nutritional value. Megaton movies are the fast food of action flicks. This one is no different. If you thought the first Taken was awesome, then you’ll only be slightly disappointed by 2. If you thought the first Taken was merely okay, go see Looper instead.
–– Taylor gives Taken 2 two takes out of five.
–– Howe gives it one and one half missed phone calls out of five.
The film is currently showing at the Galaxy Cinemas in Vernon.
Brian Taylor and Peter Howe are film reviewers living in Vernon, B.C.