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Because audiences couldn’t get enough of watching Liam Neeson beat the living shit out of a bunch of thuggish foreigners with “Taken,” we’ve been graced with the not so substantial sequel conveniently titled “Taken 2” – which isn’t even in the same universe as the quality of the original.
Just a year after Bryan Mills (Neeson) took on the whole city of Paris by himself, his once abducted daughter Kim (Maggie Grace) and his once loved ex-wife Lenore (Famke Janssen) still want to travel around the world despite the horrors Maggie went through last time. The separated family books a trip to Turkey and, subsequently, falls into immediate danger with morally deprived Albanian gangsters who are seeking revenge on Mills for murdering their family members while trying to find his daughter.
Coming from a big fan of the original “Taken,” this is my first and most important question: WHY THE HELL DO THEY WANT TO LEAVE LOS ANGELES AND TRAVEL AGAIN? Did Maggie not remember all of the shit that she went through? Do Lenore and Bryan really want to go through those awful 72 hours all over again?
They probably didn’t, but 20th Century Fox certainly did. “Taken” did exceptionally well in the box office and had a long run as a top DVD seller, so obviously the studio executives had no choice but to offer Neeson the same role in a sequel for much more money. They figured they’d make a hit by bringing in a director-for-hire in Olivier Megaton whose greatest career feat has been directing “Transporter 3” – not much of a feat at all.
“Taken 2,” for the sub-90 minutes it lasts, has so many acts in it that you feel like you are watching random segments from “Robot Chicken.” People get abducted; they escape. People get abducted again; they escape again. It’s brutally predictable, repetitive and distastefully cheesy. It purposefully makes a mockery of Liam Neeson’s badassery – even going so far as climaxing with him in the same stance as “The Grey” where he is about to fistfight the wolf.
There are multiple soundtrack segments in this film that are stolen directly from Nicholas Winding Refn’s 2011 hit “Drive.” It’s an almost insulting rip-off that, just one single year after the release of Refn’s masterpiece, Megaton went and used these soundtrack pieces in a film that’s tension doesn’t even near rival the film it ripped off of.
All in all, “Taken 2” is just a repulsively edited mess of Liam Neeson taking on the world. This movie already exists – it’s called “Taken.”
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