Taken 2 – 1 out of 5
After the success of Taken, it was no surprise that a sequel was going to be produced. I enjoyed the first film. There was some great action sequences, a killer monologue from Neeson and, despite his age, Liam Neeson proved he has what it takes to be a legitimate bad-ass without being a walking ironic jokes like all those involved in The Expendables or Chuck Norris. So, when the sequel came out, I was cautiously optimistic…unfortunately, I wasn’t prepared for how bad the film was going to be.
|"Sweetheart, listen to me carefully...they're going to take me."|
After rescuing his daughter from a sex trade industry and killing all those who got in his way, it seems more than obvious that the neck-breaking machine that is Bryan Mills (Liam Neeson) was going to be on the receiving end of a revenge plot. Well, father of one of the murdered men decides he going to take Mills, his ex-wife Lenore (Famke Janssen) and his daughter Kim (Maggie Grace). After the plan goes south and only Mills and Lenore are taken, it’s up to Kim to help get her dad free in order to save Lenny and then kick some ass for the whole getting taken again. That’s basically it, nothing much deeper goes on here.
|"Who is this?"|
I wasn’t expecting brilliance with Taken 2 (possible sub-title: Taken Again!), in fact, all I wanted was seeing Liam Neeson kick some ass again like in the first one. Sadly, it didn’t give me that. Instead, what was giving was a painfully and obviously rushed to production film that even the actors involved didn’t seem too interested in.
|"Pew pew...got you!"|
The film moves painfully slow to get to the meat of the story and offers up some possible side dishes to work with as concerns of Kim’s post-traumatic stress from the first film play a major role in the first 20 minutes. This would have been interesting if anything came of it but it’s completely forgotten about once the whole being taken thing starts (Taken 2: Taken Harder). What follows then is lethargic action that never really delivers and feels like it’s fueled on cough syrup rather than pure gritty testosterone like the previous film. I realized Liam turned 60 but the movie didn’t have to MOVE like a 60 year old.
Even worse than the disappointing and almost non-existent action was the complete void of convincing acting from all those involved. Famke Jenssen literally spends 90% of the movie asleep and Neeson spends the entire movie like he’s there only because the check cleared. The film’s villain (played by Rade Serbedzija) even comes off as if he just wandered on set and said, “I’m the Russian villain in a million movies, will you pay me to just kinda stand around?”
|He literally got paid to do absolutely nothing in this movie.|
That leads to the biggest let down of the film…the fact the bad guys don’t really seem bad at all. I don’t mean they come off as sympathetic for the fact Mills brutally murdered their kin but they come off as faceless enemies that seem identical to the wandering bad guys in a Super Mario game that Liam is only killing in order to get to the end of the level. Sure they have a motive and almost have a plan but other than that, they appear to only be set pieces. In fact, after Serbedzija’s character kinda/sort of sets up a plan in the opening credits, the rest of the movie sees them just come in and out of scenes, patiently awaiting to have a bullet put in their chest from Neeson.
|"Smell my hands, does it smell like onions...or another check for phoning it in like I |
got for Battleship?"
In the end, Taken 2 (Electric Boogaloo!) was a rushed product. No semblance of time or effort was placed into it other than a quick Box Office return. The acting is weak, the story is flimsy and the action is paltry with its portions meager at best. To put it simply, Taken 2 (The Secret of the Ooze) is just a disappointment. It had the potential to be a great action film but, instead, settled with being a phoned-in piece of crap meant to milk movie-goers out of their money. I wish I could say this surprised me but, in reality, this really isn’t a shock.