2008 s surprise hit Taken , an action film about an ex-CIA agent rescuing his daughter who was kidnapped on vacation in Europe, earned an eye-popping $227 million worldwide and has even lived a second life on DVD, basic cable, and hilarious internet memes. All the success from Taken only meant one thing ..sequel. Like most sequels, Taken 2 takes places a few years after Bryan Mills (Liam Neeson) single handedly laid waste to a few hundred Albanian goons.
The opening scene shows the Albanian gang s leader Murad (Rade Sherbedgia) who looks like the Dos Equis guy s evil twin angrily vowing to get revenge the man who killed their family members. While Murad is playing bury the baddies and plotting his revenge, Bryan is in Los Angeles helping his daughter Kim (Maggie Grace) learn to drive while his ex-wife Lenore (Famke Janssen) is having trouble in her marriage. When The Mills family takes a trip to Istanbul, Murad and his gang show up hoping to add a little kidnapping, and torture to the family s itinerary.
For anyone who enjoys the action movie formula that s turned bodybuilders into superstars and made Rambo a household name this is the point in a film where you fasten your seatbelt and prepare for a action rollercoaster; instead Taken 2 beings delivering some of the best unintentional comedy of the year. The comedy starts with the laundry list of instructions Bryan gives Lenore once he realizes they re being followed. His instructions were as confusing as putting together IKEA furniture, but it didn t stop Bryan from yelling at her.
The second laughable scene takes place minutes later when the amateur bad guys draw guns on Bryan in the alley but allow him to call his daughter AND give her information on how to escape. If that s not hilarious enough, after numerous comedic plot devices used to move the story along, Kim s ditched the bad guys and has convinced Bryan that she can help them escape. What does he do?
Bryan has her throw grenades off the balcony so he can use the explosions to help triangulate his location MacGyver is wondering how come he never thought of that one. This scene showed me two things: 1) Maggie Grace was going to have a bigger role in this film that I expected 2) MapQuest should have a grenade option that helps you find your location. It would be dangerously awesome.
The laughs only continue as Evil Dos Equis and his stooges stumble through the streets of Istanbul narrowly missing Bryan at every turn, while Bryan racks up a body count (24 total) like he s playing Call of Duty. Taken 2 s biggest laugh comes courtesy of Kim driving the taxi like Jason Statham through the streets crowded streets of Istanbul. Why is this funny?
It s funny because the filmmakers make a point (more than once) to point out that Kim doesn t have her license and has failed her driving test three times. I won t get into the U.S Embassy scene, Bryan being on the phone constantly like he s middle school, the bad guys sitting in comfortable chairs 80% of the time, Bryan s handcuffed yoga move, death by mush , the strange choice to use two songs from 2011 s Drive, Bryan using sounds, turns, and instinct to help find his way back to the lair (think Rain Man meets Hansel and Gretel), and comical one-liners like I killed a guy and Be casual . My biggest gripe with Taken 2 is the final fight scene.
Bryan s spent the entire movie shooting people or using hand-to-hand combat to fold guys up like origami. Needless to say, he s made light work of Albanian bad guys 1 through 23. Somehow, the unidentified, indiscriminate, chubby guy in the track suit is Bryan s biggest fight?
My friend Ninjagenius jokingly called him The Albanian Baker, and by the look of his physique it s fitting. There s no build up, no foreshadowing, no reason to believe the baker can fight, and no reason to care. The most valuable asset any action movie has is its final showdown.
Despite how good or not good the first 80 minutes are, audiences look forward to the final fight scene it s the dessert after you ve suffered through all the nasty vegetables. I wasn t expecting Bruce v. Kareem in Game of Death or even McClane and Hans final showdown in Nakatomi Towers, but you have to give us something.
Liam Neeson & Co. missed the mark with Taken 2. It was more of the same, but less impressive and lazier.
What could ve been the second step towards the next action movie franchise turned out to be a washed up, watered down version of the original.
Review: Taken 2 | People's Critic: Film Reviews – seattlepi.com