Mar 3, 2013

Movie Review: Taken 2

Picking up a few months after ex-CIA agent Bryan Mills (Liam Neeson) saves his daughter Kim (Maggie Grace) from being sold into sex trafficking by an Albanian crime syndicate, the family of the slaughtered Albanians unite to get revenge on the whole Mills family.

This sequel thankfully makes a strong attempt to fix some of my complaints from the first Taken. The characters are all much more rounded out in this film than the prequel, and I actually found myself emotionally attached to all of them, especially Bryan's ex-wife, Lenore (Famke Janssen). The Armenian boss, Murad (Rade Šerbedžija) was especially a wonderful villain who was easy to hate. You could see his reasoning for being so bloodthirsty and revenge seeking, but also knew he was in the wrong, and even kind of admits to it without changing his mind at all. He looks at his work as a necessary evil because that's what the families of the slain demand. Good stuff. There's also a few really strong moments that bring the overall quality of this film up and make it unique. There's a brilliant yet brief bit of dialog about the circle of violence and revenge, an eye-for-an-eye and all of that, as well as some endearing moments between Bryan and Kim Mills.

While this film had a lot of strong qualities, it also had some very painful, jawing flaws. These flaws rely heavily on the writing (Luc Besson/Robert Mark Kamen) as well as the director (Olivier Megaton). In terms of writing, there were a few flashes of brilliance but you really had to grit your teeth and wade through the garbage dialog at points. If I had to hear Liam Neeson utter the phrase "Faster, Kim!" or "Listen to me very carefully," I would have just given this film a zero, because it was that repetitive. The action scenes in Taken 2 paled in comparison to the original Taken with far less emphasis put on smart joint/weak area fighting and far more emphasis on quick camera cuts to make the strikes and reactions seem lightning quick. Quick cuts are another broken record in this film that grew tired on me. The worst part of this film though is the completely wasted scenes that added nothing. The easiest example of this to give is the first twenty minutes or so of the film when we jump away from the quiet suburban life of the Mills family to see the Armenians putting their strategy into fruition. By this, I mean the Armenians travel. In. Every. Scene. 5-10 minutes of the Mills family life that really adds to their character depth, and then jump to Europe to see a caravan of SUVs passing through a checkpoint or arriving at a rest area.

Taken 2 was 90 minutes, which is a good time limit for a tight, concise action film. It blows my mind how much useless fluff was used to pad out these 90 minutes. There were a few great scenes in this film but it was really a letdown and I feel justified in letting it sit around my house for a week before putting in the effort to sit down and watch it. Maybe fans of 24 and international espionage would be more into than I was, but my overall rating...

2.5 / 5

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