Taken 2 Movie Review
Luc Besson & I have beef.
He is probably one of the more prolific & consistently busy talents working in film today. He also happens to be the most wildly inconsistent quality-wise. He springs back & forth between sh*t and surprisingly good movies. 2009′s “Taken” is one of those surprises. Let’s take a look at the film for a moment. Here’s the plot of “Taken“: A guy, an ex special forces operative (or something… it’s never quite clear) finds out that his estranged daughter has been kidnapped by sex traffickers. That guy then goes on a war path to find his daughter.
Not too original, not too interesting. However, to compare it to jazz, it’s the notes that it doesn’t play that makes it so surprisingly good. First of all, it is brutal, it is immediate, and it moves with an urgent pace. There is no slow points. Liam Neeson just goes, and it feels intense & brutal throughout. The best thing about it is that Bryan Mills (Liam Neeson) isn’t standing around being emotional, or relaying memories of his daughter, or doing the many things that a character in a movie cliche movie would do. No, instead he is on a mission, and it is entertaining to watch him go. Liam Neeson adds class & badassness in equal doses. The first movie was shocking, because I wasn’t expecting a good movie, but that’s what I got.
So, we get the idea to make a sequel. Now, here’s the rub: the first film was a surprise, people didn’t know what to expect, and that is why THAT particular film works, and also that’s precisely why “Taken 2” doesn’t work.
Taken 2 isn’t a terrible movie. It’s just not a particularly great one. And, while it isn’t quite as bad as the RT rating suggests (I honestly think most of those critics had their mind made up about the movie long before they saw it), it is still very VERY disappointing. This is coming from someone who is a big fan of the original film. There are cool elements, Liam Neeson is awesome, but the direction is bewilderingly clunky. I believe it when they say that the director of “Columbiana” directed this, because the action scenes are so so incredibly clunky, and choppy, and badly edited, that you’d get whiplash just from trying to decipher what the f*ck is happening.
There is a big giant chunk where nothing is happening, and I was sticking with it for the most part, then at some point (you’ll know when if you see it), it lost me completely, and couldn’t win me back no matter how hard it tries. For the most part, it’s just boring. It lacks the immediate urgency of the original film, and it also lacks the originality in approach despite the unoriginal storyline. It’s just not a well structured film, and there are many MANY film school 101 mistakes on display here… Which begs the question, why the f*ck does Luc Besson keep hiring the same guys to make these damn films?
However, there are good things to be found here. The action choreography is great (but not the actual shooting of said choreography). Liam Neeson is good (as always), and Maggie Grace does a good job of carrying a lot of the movie. There is a car chase that is a lot of fun, and there are actual good ideas here.
I just wish there was room for them to breathe. I really truly wish I could like it as much as I wanted to. I still think that it’s watchable, and could be enjoyed as a rental… But, that’s just about it. It’s a shame, because I wish the film could’ve been what the original movie was: a surprise. But, instead we have what is to be expected: a disappointment.