Behind ‘Skyfall’, ‘The Hobbit’, ‘Prometheus’ and a deluge of superhero films, the follow-up to 2008’s shock hit ‘Taken’ was one of this year’s most anticipated films. Disappointingly, ‘Taken 2’ fails to live up to even the lowest expectations.
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The first film, although somewhat ridiculous, still maintained a sliver of plausibility. Taking the audience into the grimy sex trafficking underworld gave it a gritty edge that justified the film’s bursts of violence. ‘Taken 2’ pushes the boundaries of reality a little too far and ends up becoming a spoof of its predecessor.
The decision to switch from a 15 certificate to a more teen-friendly 12A means that the violence and action is muted so much this time around that some death scenes don’t even make sense. Some moments that should have been thrilling are instead turned into embarrassing episodes, with special mention going to a scene where Neeson’s on-screen daughter uses grenades to help find her father – it left the audience literally laughing out loud in sheer bemusement.
Although the film occasionally acknowledged the silliness it had on offer, it was a vain attempt to paper over the colossal cracks. The plot was a carbon copy of the original (minus the interesting bits) and had the father of one of Neeson’s dead enemies come after him and his family.
The acting was dismal to boot. Neeson did his best to deliver a cringe-inducing script (so points go to him), but his co-stars Maggie Grace and especially Famke Janssen demonstrate just why they had such minor roles in the first film with appalling performances in the sequel.
As bad as they were individually, it took a team effort to ruin what was looking like a promising franchise. In an attempt to polish the grit from the original, director Olivier Megaton (who we have to ‘thank’ for ‘Transporter 3’) managed to destroy all that was good in the first film, leaving a flimsy and defaced end product.
Liam Neeson has already gone on record to rule out a third film, claiming: “I can’t see a possible scenario where audiences wouldn’t go, ‘Oh, come on…! She’s taken again?’” Perhaps he should have figured this out before making number two.
Released: 4 October 2012
Watch the trailer below...