Taken 2 Unintentionally Hilarious
“Taken 2” is a relentless machine of a movie that cares little for plot, characters, or competently filmed action sequences in its rush to get from point a to point b. This time we find Liam Neeson in Istanbul for seemingly no other reason than the filmmakers needed a new place to do the same old tricks. But believability goes right out the window almost the minute he touches down.
The families of the Albanian kidnappers Neeson dispatched in the first film are the ones out for revenge this time. And they set out to kidnap Neeson and his ex-wife and daughter. His family surprises him with the visit, so how did the bad guys know they’d all be there? This film doesn’t have time to answer that or many other basic questions.
In the words of the great Roger Ebert, “Taken 2” doesn’t just stretch credibility it redefines it. Somehow after he and his wife have been captured and blindfolded, Neeson can determine his location and the route he took to get there simply by listening to the ticking of his watch. I particularly liked a scene where Neeson has been captured, and he’s tied up but manages to call his daughter with a phone hidden in his sock. He then lays out a complicated geometry lesson that involves throwing live grenades off a hotel roof and then waiting for the boom to determine his exact location.
While Liam Neeson makes a credible tough guy with his hulking frame, it seems a bit of a shame to have the one time Academy Award nominee say little more than “Faster,” “Move, Move,” and “Get Low” for long stretches of time.
Director Olivier Megaton seems to have taken crib notes from Michael Bay and slices and dices the fight scenes to the point of incoherence. It’s tough to determine exactly who is doing what to whom until we inevitably see Neeson as the last man standing at the end. If this series goes on any longer it may just devolve into the kind of mindless, incompetent trash Steven Seagal used to throw out year after year. Neeson deserves far better and so does the audience