Tuesday, 16 October 2012
Film: Taken 2 (2012)
Bryan Mills is back to demonstrate his 'unique set of skills' as the families of the Albanians he killed in the first movie hunt him down to Istanbul, kidnapping him and ex wife Lenore. With daughter Kim on the loose and being hunted too, we should be in for an undemanding but exciting couple of hours of macho nonsense. However, director Oliver Megaton shows a unique set of skills himself, not least being the ability to make any action sequence confusing and totally uninvolving. This critically undermines the film's appeal and renders it an inferior experience to the first movie.
The script by Luc Besson and Mark Kamen is absolutely fine, giving us more of the same, which is what most of us want. We've got the initial establishing scenes of Mills (Liam Neeson) teaching his daughter to drive and of checking out her new boyfriend. Meanwhile in Albania, we see the mass burial of the Albanians Mills killed in Taken. Their leader, and father of the one Neeson memorably electrocuted, has sworn revenge and soon three SUVs full of Mills fodder are on their way to Turkey. Mills realises something is up and has sent Lenore (Famke Jannson) off into a market while he distracts their pursuers. It all goes tits up however, for Mills and for the audience. The first fight shows us we're in trouble: it is edited to death and so shaky cam that it is almost impossible to make out what is going on which makes it hugely frustrating. Why bother choregraphing an extended set piece between Neeson and three heavies if you've then going to film and edit it in a way that means your audience cannot possibly appreciate it?
Anyhow, the olds are captured, but not before Bryan has made a quickie call to Kim (Maggie Grace) and given her the chance to escape. She then proves to be quite resourceful, using dad's convenient suitcase of mass destruction to help locate him, drop a handy gun down a chimney and set the old man off again. What follows is entirely watchable, until we get either a fight or a car chase and we're once again subjected to a visual battering. Without giving away all the plot we end up with Bryan hunting down the remaining Albanians and offing them in unimaginative ways. In terms of action this film is akin to one of those straight to DVD movies starring Steven Seagal or a wrestler. You'll have seen it all before, done better somewhere else. This is a shame as, script wise, Taken 2 is entirely decent and Neeson is as rough and tough as he was in the first film. If we do get Taken 3 (Taken the piss?), they'll need to hire the right director.
GK Rating: ***