Taken 2 – Was it a Hit or Miss?

Taken 2 Poster

Its taken an age but I have finally watched Taken 2. I am a big fan of the first Taken, as are most it seems, so I was a little apprehensive at a sequel. Where could the story go? The first one is wrapped up nicely, Dad saves Daughter and they all live happily ever after. Taken 2 however asks the question ‘what about the henchmen?’ To be fair, Bryan Mills (Liam Neeson) does brutally murder tens of men and seemingly gets away with it, there were bound to be repercussions!

Upon its release I fear Taken 2 got a lot of shtick, in fact if you search ‘Taken 2’ on WordPress alone most hits are “Top 10 worst films of 2012” and the like. I heeded the warnings and didn’t go and see it at the cinema, despite actually being really intrigued to see if the haters were right. Plus I had to see if Liam Neeson could still kick butt at the ripe age of 60.

taken-2

The story wont take much explaining… Mills goes on a work trip to Istanbul, his ex-wife ‘Leni’ and daughter Kim take him up on the offer of a mini break and surprise him out there. Meanwhile, the Father of one the henchman from Taken has rallied a group of equally faceless men to seek revenge on Mills. Shit goes down in Istanbul.

The story line might sound sloppy, and another ‘taking’ might have led some to scoff at the films lack of originality – BUT I really enjoyed this film! There have been a lot worse cases of sequels lacking imagination… *cough* Saw, Paranormal Activity, Ocean’s *cough cough* I could go on forever. It is the same story re-jigged, and in the same world as the previous film so of course there will be similarities. Ok I wont sing it’s praises too much, like any great film, the sequel just isn’t as good. But it definitely has its strong points.

liam-neeson-maggie-grace-taken-2

Firstly, I really liked Mills and daughter Kim’s relationship. It is clear Mills is trying his damdest to be a great Dad and Kim appreciates his efforts. She isn’t a spoilt kid who ‘just wants to be left alone’ and be with her new boyfriend, she doesn’t fly off the handle when he tracks her down at her new boyfriends house to take her on a driving lesson. This being because, rightly so, she is still pretty traumatised by the events in Taken. I hate films where in the sequel no body seems to have any mental scarring from the life changing ordeals of the previous film. I found this realistic and refreshing, and really enjoyed Mills and Kim’s moments together. Particularly when Mill tries to probe Kim on her love life – any daughter knows that is the most cringy topic, and I’m sure any father who has a teenage daughter will often try and pretend their daughter doesn’t actually have a love life. I really like Maggie Grace who plays Kim too, must look out for her in other roles, mental note!!

Maggie Grace Take 2

A fun moment of the film is just before Mills goes away on his work trip, he is having BBQ with his old buddies. Like the first film, they are ribbing him about his family life, and a quick snippet of this old comradary brings you back to the first movie when Mills has no idea how his life will change after he gets on that plane to Europe… de ja vu! But I liked that moment, it also reminded you that he is a normal guy, nearing retirement, just getting on with his life.

Now, Mills has skills, we all know this, a special set of skills… He uses them very wisely, and to an even fuller effect than the first time I would say. Instructing Kim on how to help him, he talks her through how to find himself and Leni, and it was pretty cleverly done. I wont ruin it for potential new audiences but I thoroughly enjoyed this part of the film. Maggie Grace gets much more of a ballsy character to play, and we get to see a bit of logic to this ‘set of skills’ we heard so much about in the first film. Probably all inaccurate and those more knowledgeable than I might say it was ridiculous, but I found it wholly believable and entertaining.

To be captioned by Picture Desk.

There is even a car chase, not your conventional car chase I might add. Kim gets to drive, and daddy gets to shoot the bad guys on the way. I couldn’t help thinking it was like a really intense driving lesson. One where your Dad is getting annoyed with you because you’re not learning fast enough, and you, the learner driver, are crapping your pants that you’re going to fast (even if you are travelling 30 miles per hour), and panicking under pressure. Mills is shouting “come on” “faster” “hurry up” “lets go” and poor Kim is crying “I’m trying” “I can’t”. But she does very well and they have a pretty good pursuit through the streets of Istanbul.

Taken-2i_vjpg_

Unfortunately like the first one, Famke Janssen who plays Leni doesn’t get to do a lot in Taken 2. Jean, I mean Leni does get kidnapped but doesn’t do or say a lot during the ordeal (she may be other wise engaged) but I would have liked to see a bit more of her character. She seems to have a fighting spirit and I think it could have been used a bit more in exchanges with the bad guy, Murad Krasniqi (Rade Serbedzija who is a very convincing bad guy of course). Let’s just say it was quite convenient for every one involved if she was subdued.

taken2bad

Toward the climax of the film, I did feel it was being rushed. After a slightly lacking shoot out, but a pretty decent one on one fighting action, the bad guys demise was very anti-climactic. I also felt that maybe the dialogue between Mills and Murad could have been a little more hard hitting. But like he said, he was pretty tired. Also 60 years old and had just killed a bunch of dudes, so think we can cut him some slack for not being so quick thinking with his come backs (he is no Arnie after all).

Over all then I think I must have fairly enjoyed this film! That is until the end scene with the ice cream… Taken 2 was no Taken 1 that’s fo sho, BUT it was an easy watch, entertaining, and another excuse to see Liam Neeson do his thang and kick some ass in a leather jacket.

Liam Neeson

 

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17 thoughts on “Taken 2 – Was it a Hit or Miss?

  1. CMrok93 January 21, 2013 at 9:47 pm Reply

    It’s exactly the same type of stuff the second go around, except with more of it. More action, more running, more shooting, and most of all, more Liam Neeson kicking ass. That’s all I really needed. Nice review.

    • myreelpov January 21, 2013 at 10:23 pm Reply

      Agreed, that basically sums up a sequel!

  2. r361n4 January 21, 2013 at 11:54 pm Reply

    Lol, true that Famke will never be anything but Jean. I think I was expecting more from this one since I liked the first Taken so much, but I do admit that it was definitely an easy and relatively fun watch. Also I want his leather jacket…

    • myreelpov January 22, 2013 at 9:15 am Reply

      Yes I think if I had watched it straight away expecting an equal to Taken I would have been severely disappointed. As it happens I was expecting something a lot worse due to reviews I had previously read so ended up being pleasantly surprised 🙂

  3. sanclementejedi January 22, 2013 at 3:58 am Reply

    hmmmm, I have been waiting to check this one out as I enjoyed the first one. Sounds like its safe to pick this one up at the Red Box or watch it when its available for streaming.

    • myreelpov January 22, 2013 at 9:16 am Reply

      Yep I wouldn’t suggest seeing this on the big screen. But worth a watch when you are bored!

  4. Tim The Film Guy January 22, 2013 at 6:12 pm Reply

    I thought it was better than some people said, but still a little disappointing compared to the first.

  5. The Focused Filmographer January 23, 2013 at 7:07 am Reply

    yeah, I’m in the boat of take Taken2 back to the video store and leave it there. “Taken Again” just really disappointed me after the amazingness of Taken.

    I couldn’t buy into Famke’s bad acting and dyed hair. Nor could I handle Maggie’s on and off again trial skills as Kim. I did enjoy Liam doing what he did best though.

    I wanted this to be better and hopefully the third…which they should call “Retaken” will be better. Fair review.

    • myreelpov January 23, 2013 at 9:13 am Reply

      Are they making a third?! I hope not! They should leave it alone now, or remake the second one… Liam wont last as an action hero much longer I don’t think. He is no Bruce Willis (that guy will live forever!)

  6. Sir Phobos January 25, 2013 at 10:48 am Reply

    Ahhhhh, welllll….I pretty much hated this. I don’t know how they stretched 45 minutes of material into a whole movie. Don’t get me wrong, I’m glad you enjoyed it, for sure. I just…I mean, I couldn’t even tell what was happening in any of the hand to hand fight scenes. You’re right about Famke, though. 80% of her screen time was her laying face first in the dirt, which isn’t very captivating. I reviewed it if you want to give it a read…

    http://moviefiednyc.blogspot.com/2012/12/moviefiednycreplay-reviewstaken-2.html

    It really just took what made the first movie great and tried to replicate it without any of the care or attention to detail. I do like Maggie Grace a lot, and since you liked her in this, you should check out Lockout. I really dug her in that one, too.

    • myreelpov January 25, 2013 at 10:53 am Reply

      Ah well I can understand why you hated it but I try and be upbeat about a film if I can!
      Thanks I will check that out 🙂

      • Sir Phobos January 25, 2013 at 11:29 am

        I understand being upbeat. Let me know what you think of Lockout, by the way. It’s a total B movie action flick, but it’s fun while it lasts.

      • myreelpov January 25, 2013 at 12:22 pm

        Well Maggie Grace is also in the new series Followers (Kevin Bacon) so I am going to watch that too!

      • Sir Phobos January 25, 2013 at 12:40 pm

        Yet again I am thwarted by not having cable. But it helps my wallet.

  7. genericmessage January 30, 2013 at 1:22 am Reply

    Your positive spin on this movie is great!

    Sadly it sucked in my view and I am more of a jerk.

    I mean, c’mon. Girl can barely drive and she can all of a sudden drive a stick down tiny alleys in a foreign country? UGGGHHHH

    And then he just leaves his ex wife not once, but TWICE in the movie. TWICE!

    Plus he is just fat and slow during the whole movie. He has no sense of urgency. Kinda just humping along.

    And the last two bad guys to die. Really? He paralyzes one, and kills the other with a coat hook? REALLY!?

    It feels like 3 bro’s that kinda liked the first movie got together and thought they could write a better one.

    I talk more about Liam’s obvious fat and oldness in my blog. Check it out if you’d like.

    But again, I do find your positive spin on horrible movies very refreshing compared to my normal apathetic approach.

    • myreelpov January 30, 2013 at 9:35 am Reply

      Haha yes I could have reviewed it very negatively as well but I think sometimes you can’t take films like these too seriously. It may not have been a fantastic film but I did enjoy it to some extent. He did lumber along a bit didn’t he lol, ah well he gave it his best efforts!

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