January 17, 2013

Filthy Review - 'Taken 2'

Taken 2 (2012)

Review by Jude Felton

It would appear that director Olivier Megaton, who still has one of the coolest names in film, is Luc Besson’s go to man when Pierre Morel isn’t available. Morel directed both The Transporter, The Transporter 2 and Taken, but who stepped in to direct The Transporter 3 and Taken 2? Yep, that man Megaton. The problem with this is that both the first two Transporter movies and Taken were damned good entertainment. Sure, they lacked any real substance, but they delivered in the excitement department. The Transporter 3 didn’t have this, in fact I can’t remember a whole lot about it, and now we have Taken 2, of which I am sorry to say continues the poor sequel trend.

2008’s Taken was a surprise movie; it seemingly came out of nowhere and delivered Liam Neeson kicking some serious ass. It was fun, entertaining and violent, even if it was never going to win any awards. The film followed Bryan Mills (Neeson) as he travels around Paris and beats the shit out of everyone he comes across whilst searching for his kidnapped daughter. Remember, he will find you, and he will kill you. Simple but effective.

In the sequel a couple of things have changed, although the stupidity level has increased. Mills’ estranged wife, Lenore, is no longer with her boyfriend, which frees her up to travel to Turkey, along with their daughter Kim. Why?? You’ve just endured a traumatic kidnapping experience in Paris, and now you want to travel to Turkey? I don’t care how many asses Mills kicks, you think they go somewhere a little closer to home.

Regardless, off to Turkey they go, and no sooner have they arrived than the brother of the goon Mills killed in Taken pops up to kidnap Mills and Lenore, to get revenge. The result of this is Kim running around the rooftops lobbing grenades left, right and center, while Mills gets his shit, and particular set of skills, in order.

Taken was a moderate case of disbelief suspension; I could live with it in other words, but in Taken 2 it’s just too much. I would have much rather preferred he left his family at home and went it alone, for whatever reason. I mean, there are some cool action sequences, such as a car chase, although Mills continually shouting “Go Kim” got tiresome quickly, and Mills does again kick ass. The trouble is it all seemed too sedate in comparison to the first film; there was a fire in Mills eyes in Taken, but here it seems to have been put out. Indeed, towards the end he tells another character that he is tired of all this. Well, I hope he wakes up if there is ever a third Taken film, which judging by the box office receipts of this film, there will be.

Theatrically Taken 2 was given a PG-13 rating, which probably accounted for it doing so well, so it was nice to see this Blu-ray version get the unrated treatment. Having not seen the theatrical cut I cannot say for certain what was added to this cut, although there are some scenes of violence that definitely appeared to be too strong for the PG rating. Still, I would have rather a PG-13 rating that had a little more substance to its plot, than an unrated cut that just plays by the numbers.

Technically Taken 2 is a well put together flick, hell, most Luc Besson productions are, and it all looks very nice, with the Turkish scenery looking terrific, but there’s not too much more to offer here. After the quite terrific The Grey, this is definitely a step back for Neeson, although I am sure the paycheck was nice.

Despite Taken 2 not being all that good, there is a decent selection of extras included, one of which being an alternate ending. Normally alternate endings are just a couple of minute’s difference, but here it is a 25 minute change. Whether or not that will change your opinion of the film though is another matter.

Taken 2 is available now on Blu-ray and DVD from 20th Century Fox.

No comments: