Movie Review: Taken 2 (2012)

“Your mother; is going to be taken.”

As Neeson says towards the end of the film “I’m tired”. I wonder if this will become his “I’m getting too old for this shit” or “Yippie-kay-yay”. Even though he seemed to walking his career into the aged action hero he does seem to already be worn with so few films under his belt.

I could go on for another 1000 words or so listing off cast members of The Expendables and their ridiculously well known catch phrases that have both plagued and fuelled their film careers. Liam Neeson, best to my knowledge l, was never an action hero. He was a man of Shakespeare and he surprised us all four years ago becoming a new old age of action. Since then he’s been milking it with Batman Begins, The Grey and The A-Team. Here he returns for the sequel of his surprise box office hit that has him reminding us that no matter what he says into a phone will sound badass and scare the shit out of anyone on the other end.

This iteration comes with considerably less action and even a faster paced editing to allow for easier sequences and less believed effect of showing us one man take down five combatants at once. Sadly the film doesn’t quite pull off the desired result that the first one did.

Taken 2 film hinges on two action sequences and nothing more. With the odd division of Kim (Maggie Grace) and Lenore (Famke Jansen) with this film it creates two different climaxes and not for the better. After Bryan (Liam Neeson) and Lenore are taken the film has Kim be the helping Mills family member who follows Bryan’s every instruction to help them escape. However, everything doesn’t work out as planned and this ends up making a scenario where while one Mills family member is safe the other is not and we switch this around as when one is saved it’s like a level in a video game is completed and you never see that character again until the very end of the movie when the whole ordeal is completed. It’s distractingly poor writing and nothing more.

In the same year that Looper, the smart action film which takes a serious look at causality, here we’re fed a film which refuses to look at its own results of its actions. Maybe that’s because this is the story of the hero who’s forced to act as opposed to the Eastern European bad guys, Murad Krasniqi (Rade Serbedzija), who choose to act. When the film reaches the second climax and asks its characters to look at what their actions mean and will create it chooses to ignore it for the sake of a dull kill.

The film, while it has its moments, shows it’s hand as a quickened product when one realizes that it tries to skate by as it uses references Nicolas Winding Refn’s Drive from last year to try and increase its own ‘cool’ factor. It even takes the song “A Real Hero” and plays it as Kim rides down an elevator and has the track “Tick of the Clock” play as Bryan tells Kim to wait in the car for five minutes and leave if he doesn’t return before the time runs out. It’s infuriating. While I tend to welcome films to reference other films that I love, here it feels stretching and adding in for no reason other than to show this film’s own emptiness.

Rating:  4.5/10