Review: TAKEN 2

By Mark Saldana

Rating: 2 (Out of 4 Stars)

Sequelitis strikes again and infects what could have been a promising film franchise.  I will say that I liked the first Taken installment, but can’t say I loved it.  It does offer some sweet action, suspense and thrills, but not a whole lot else.  Unfortunately, in trying to top the first installment, writers Luc Besson and Robert Mark Kamen and director Olivier Megaton go over-the-top and get downright silly and occasionally absurd.  Instead of keeping my eyes glued to the screen and tensely sitting in my chair, as I did with the first movie, I found myself laughing, rolling my eyes often and shuffling in my seat hoping for the 91 minutes to pass rather quickly.

In this inferior sequel, former C.I.A. operative Bryan Mills (Liam Neeson) invites his ex-wife Lenore (Famke Janssen) and his daughter Kim (Maggie Grace) on a vacation in Istanbul. Bryan and Lenore are taken hostage by Murad Krasniqui (Rade Serbedzija), a father of one Kim’s captors whomBryan killed in her rescue.  Mills has to use his skills to escape and stop Krasniqui and his men before they find his daughter and murder all of them.

There’s not much more I can add that I haven’t already stated regarding my criticisms of this film.  Megaton, Besson and Kamen try to go bigger, better, and more intense, but end up with mostly ridiculous results.  That is not to say that the movie does not have its awesome moments of action, but not enough of these exist in the film to keep audiences in awe.  Too many moments in the movie insulted my intelligence and took too many liberties with the suspension of disbelief.  At the same, I didn’t totally hate the movie. I found the protagonists likable, and this quality barely kept me invested, even though I never doubted how the film would end.

I did enjoy watching Liam Neeson portray the badass that is Bryan Mills. I just wish that the writers took a more realistic approach to his mad skills.  The lovely Famke Janssen portrays the ex-wife/mother in distress very well.  Maggie Grace has a much more expanded role in the film as she must assist her father in the escape attempt and performs admirably. Rade Sebedzija always portrays an effective villain; however, he doesn’t really bring anything new to this character.  Sebedzija almost always seems to play his villainous roles similarly.

I really do hope that this franchise ends with this installment.  I have little hope that filmmakers can re-invigorate it with another sequel.  If the film does make some serious dollars, and producers decide to make another, please go with another director besides Megaton.  His movies tend to be as laughable as his last name.  I also think Besson who has a hit or miss record with his stories should enlist the help of a stronger writing partner.  I’d let this one pass through the cinema. Wait until it is a rental and I only recommend that for those who absolutely loved the first film.


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