Taken 2 – 3/5 Movie Reviews by Ry!

Taken 2 – 3/5 – Action movies; bombastic and unrealistic at times, turn out to be entertaining on the flaws of what makes most movies great.  Those things the fail in most action flicks are on characters, plot and direction.  Some action movies, like the first taken, knew what these flaws were, but built around them by adding subtle additions to it to make a deeper but a self aware movie.  The action is gritty and gives you a sense of motivation as you know the purpose of the main character.  The sequel, as much as the action is top notch, doesn’t do well with the characters or the purpose of making it raw in its direction.  Thoroughly entertaining, the movie does fall at parts, is predictable and just falls into being another generic action film.

The movie picks up after the first film.  Bryan Mills (Liam Neeson) is a retired CIA agent.  In the first film, he stopped at nothing to save his daughter Kim (Maggie Grace) from Albanian kidnappers. Now, in this film, the father of one of the kidnappers has sworn revenge, and embarks on a furious plan to take Bryan and family hostage while they are on vacation in Istanbul.  Taken captive, Bryan enlist his daughter to help them escape, and what ensues is a race against time for Bryan to save his wife from the torture of the vengeful Albanians.  From the beginning, this movie follows the same tone as the first.  You know something is about to happen to Mills and is family; it is just a matter of time.  Once the action takes place, you know what’s going to happen and the tone shifts.  Bryan Mills, caught by the kidnappers, uses his specific set of skills to get out and save his daughter.  While doing this, his wife gets recaptured and now he must use these skills to save here.  Liam Neeson does an extraordinary job as Bryan Mills.  He is articulate and precise in his actions, acting and his knowledge of the situation.  You know his CIA skills come in handy, especially the first time he is captured.  What makes the film fail is the action scenes use too much shaky cam, as well as the predictability comes to the forefront so obviously that even for Bryan Mills doing his thing, it falls flat.  A good scene to explain this is when they are first captured.  The Albanians hang his wife upside down, the father asks Bryan how long before the blood rushes to her head.  He says thirty minutes.  The next thing you see, they leave, as if he wouldn’t save her in time or have a chance too.  The pure stupidity of the father and the Albanian captors bring a dull and abrasive tone to the film.  It’s moronic and boring, and from this point, the film just boils down to a generic action film.  You guess every scene, point by point, and unlike the first one, you don’t feel the rawness of the film when the action takes place.

The direction and cinematography are weaved decently, as the broadness of the action scenes swirl together and keep you attentive somewhat.  The score is kind of a hit and miss, and you can tell they stole some songs from other movies (Drive).  This doesn’t hinder the film, but it’s obvious the director was far reaching for something to bring some kind of ‘on your seat’ feeling to specific scenes throughout the film.

The formula that made the first film great falls to the background in this film.  There is more of an action oriented feeling using standard elements, instead of using what made it great the first time.  The ideals and motive that the main character had, fades behind the clunky and disported action scenes, and revenging plot of the Albanians.  For the obvious flaws and predictability, it is a decent action film.  I’d recommend for fans of the first film if they like seeing Liam Neeson kicking ass, otherwise … just catch a matinee

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