Film Review: Taken 2

Taken, not stirred
The original Taken (2008) was a bit of a surprise joy. It seemed to come out of nowhere. There weren’t really any expectations, and as such it was ludicrous fun. Reminiscent of straight to video movies of the 80s, it knew what it was doing, where it was going, and motored ahead like an oil tanker moving in one direction only, no matter what lay in front of it. On the good ship Taken 2, the ship doesn’t even leave port. In fact they don’t even switch on the engines.

Taken 2 Film Review

It’s a real pity too. Given the recent follow up that is Expendables 2, which took the strengths (albeit a few) from the original and literally blew them to new heights of outlandishness. It took the good spirits for the first chapter and paid back the love by the armoured freight load. So spending your hard earned cash on ever increasing outlandish cinema tickets, wasn’t so bad.

It was big, bold, funny as hell and gave you a cinema experience, if it did leave you slightly deafer than when you walked in. But it also left you compiling a wish list for potential new Expendable members, and looking forward to another in the series. In contrast, the idea that the Taken series continues after this episode, leaves you colder than Liam Nesson’s (Bryan Mills) face when he was told there’s no script. Of course there was a script….I’m sure?

There are so many things wrong with the movie, that in itself is an achievement. They probably won’t be running that as a strap line on the poster though. The well know quote from Taken, “But what I do have are a very particular set of skills; skills I have acquired over a very long career.” could be associated with the likes of Nesson himself, and also Luc Besson who has written both chapters. Between them alone there is a vast proven repertoire of entertaining, intelligent and fun movies to have a solid foundation to effectively build a whole new franchise.

The movie should have been about how all that skill and talent was ‘taken’ out back and shot, and not about Nesson’s characters daughter Kim (Maggie Grace) with her boyfriend, driving license test problems.

Someone once told me “It’s easy to criticise”. It’s always stuck with me, and I try to see the best in most things. But a couple of thoughts that struck me about Taken 2 were,

1) why on earth are the family of Nesson’s victims speaking english at the funeral at the start of the movie, yet Turkish for the rest (well most of the movie). and…
2) a Nesson quote in the movie, “be casual Kim” pretty summed up the acting standards of everyone in the cast, but to be honest, it’s not really their fault. Unfortunately there are many, many more problems to contend with in this movie.

When finally leaving the cinema, a horrific vision loomed large on the horizon, that Nesson (who I think is normally an awesome actor) was a tanker ship of a man heading on the same shipping (acting) route as Steven Segal. I really hope he finds some new maps, and a better crew.

Taken 2 is released in UK cinemas today by 20th Century Fox.