Taken 2 (2012)

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release date: 5 October 2012 (Canada)
run time: 92 mins
rated: 14A
considered: Action, Crime, Thriller
director: Olivier Megaton
starring: Liam Neeson, Maggie Grace, Famke Janssen, Leland Orser, Jon Gries, D.B. Sweeney, Luke Grimes, Rade Serbedzija, Kevork Malayan, Alain Figlarz, Frank Alvarez, Murat Tuncello, Ali Yildirim, Ergun Kuyucu, Cengiz Bozkurt

movie summary: Bryan Mills (Liam Neeson) is a retired highly skilled trained assassin, that traveled across Europe to find his kidnapped daughter Kim (Maggie Grace) before she was sold off into slavery. After being a hero, life has returned to normal for the Mills family. When his ex-wife Lenore (Famke Janssen) gets divorced, Bryan tries his best to patch up their relationship by taking her and their daughter on a vacation overseas. Little does anyone know that Murad Krasniqi (Rade Serbedzija) is seeking revenge for his son’s death, which results in both Lenore and Bryan getting Taken.

my thoughts:  Hollywood always try to jump on an idea when it’s successful, only to sometimes trip over its own feet and ruin a good thing. That’s exactly what happened here with Taken 2. What would have stood as a great movie all alone, the writers decided to take our new hero and throw him to the wolves just to see him use his “special skills” once again. The two Taken stories are not the same but the running joke when this movie ended was; who is going to get taken next? Is there going to be a storyline where his parents or his grandkids get kidnapped? Like how else could they carry on this franchise? Well we will soon find out this weekend when Taken 3 hits theatres. The only thing we know for sure is someone dies (didn’t see that coming) and that Bryan Mills needs to settle some old scores himself.

Speaking of old scores, that’s pretty much what Taken 2 is all about. Bryan killed Murad’s kid and now he wants revenge by any means necessary, whether it’s killing Kim, Lenore, or Bryan himself. When it comes to international criminals, there’s never a line that gets crossed in terms of body count and property destruction. This could have been an enjoyable movie, on some level, but it is almost a carbon copy of the previous movie without as much flare. The story really goes south when Kim, who has zero super agent skills, is thrust into the role of saviour while Bryan hangs from a pipe and Lenore clings to life tied up with a bag on her head. The writers try to make us believe that she’s an ordinary teenager that has a boyfriend and just wants to get her driver’s license. Yet when the phone call comes to go rescue her family, she’s able to spring into action without any effects of PTSD or her previous attacks, while driving recklessly across a city before crashing a car into the U.S. embassy. People mock the first movie for how unrealistic it is, while Taken 2 takes the silliness to a whole new level.

One of the best aspects of the original movie was Liam Neeson’s unique set of skills. This time around we already know what he’s capable of but he doesn’t do anything out of the ordinary here. Sure a phone, tracking device, and pin are all handy to have, but let’s be honest here if we gave those tools to someone like Bruce Willis he would be able to pull off the escapes. The serious voice behind his threats is what made Neeson a great character, in Taken 2 he is just your average guy who can shoot a gun with the best of them and play mind games with the people trying to kill him. For a retired guy he has yet to lose a step, but at some point age will catch up to him and he won’t be able to keep up with the international secret agent game  like he does.

I thought Rade Serbedzija was a great bad guy, even though he wasn’t given a whole lot of time and space to work with. As a grieving father like Bryan could have been, he just wants to settle things eye for an eye. He doesn’t fully understand everything that Bryan is capable of and that will ultimately lead to their big show down that is pretty anti-climatic.

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my final thoughts: My hope is Taken 3 is able to bring a better ending to the franchise that started with a bang and then bombed with a sequel. Bryan Mills will go down as a legend in the action movie genre, but even if you love Neeson, Maggie Grace, or Famke Janssen, Taken 2 will disappoint you. Despite the bullets, car chases, and explosions, there was no opportunities here to further the main characters and their life stories.

my star rating: 5 out 10

imdb: 6.3 out 10 
metascore: 45/100 
rottentomatoes: 21% out 100% 
roger ebert: 3 out 4
richard crouse: 2 out 5

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