Matt’s Review: ‘Taken 2’ is Boring, Predictable, Unworthy of its PredecessorBy
I’ve been saying ever since I saw the second trailer for this film that Taken 2 felt like an unnecessary sequel to a decent film. It felt like the studio was simply trying to cash in more money on the good name of what many consider a quality film. After seeing Taken 2 earlier this week, those reservations were confirmed. Taken 2 has none of the intrigue, tension, or excitement of the first. It’s a complete waste of time, save yourself money by skipping this one.
This film picks up with Bryan Mills working to salvage his relationships with his daughter Kim and her mother Lenore after the whole kidnapping ‘fiasco’ of the first film. He ends up getting a 3 day security job in Istanbul and invites the two women in his life to join him. Upon joining him, the crime syndicate that Bryan almost single-handedly dashed is looking for revenge and executes a plan to grab not only Bryan, but Kim and Lenore as well… this is where they are, TAKEN!!
Taken 2 is absurdly boring, even amidst all the car chases, fight scenes, and evil doings. I can honestly say this film feels as fresh as a rerun of an old show. Taken 2 isn’t a direct rehash, plot point for plot point like The Hangover 2, but it is all too familiar to feature the tension and drama of the first. There is nothing fresh in this film to make it worth standing alongside Taken.
I am not even a huge fan of the first film, but it’s a film that battles with your comfort level going into the depths of sex trafficking, toying with your emotions, and testing your strength to will Bryan on to save his daughter. Taken 2 is just a film looking to re-stage fights and conflicts to make more money on the coattails of the first go-round. The idea of revenge is apparent in the sequel, but it isn’t executed with any of the care or precision of the first film. And come on Bryan Mills, you being an expert in all this, you took down most of a crime syndicate, you didn’t think revenge was a possibility? You invite your family to a ‘sketchy’ foreign country? It’s implausible to try and make an audience swallow that.
Even aside from that mostly mild criticism, the film is filled with other laughable moments that are not supposed to be comical in any way. One in particular is when Mills and daughter Kim are on the run in a stolen Taxi. Earlier in the film Mills is trying to prepare Kim to pass her drivers exam in his cozy Toyota sedan — but at this moment in Istanbul, guess who is the getaway driver… yes, Kim. Mills says to her, “Can you shoot? Then drive!” This line of dialogue makes the viewer understand why Mills is allowing his daughter to drive, but it still doesn’t make sense that she can drive a manual transmission with expertise to escape hordes of bad guys shooting in chasing vehicles that somehow keep reappearing no matter what turns are taken (zing!) or what maneuvers are used.
I mean, there isn’t any reference to her understanding how to drive a manual — no one, and I mean one, can get in a car and learn to drive a manual without any previous instruction or idea of how it works. But she just understands it immediately, and on a stunt drivers’ level. It’s beyond ridiculous. This moment epitomizes the lack of care in the construction of this film. Instead of trying to be smart or have any sense of reality, the film decides to become another one of Hollywood’s overblown boring action flicks.
One more note, which I always feel the need to harp at, is that this film is shot with nauseating indecipherable shaky action camera work and edited like an epilepsy — the type of presentation where the viewer cannot even tell who is who, who is winning, or understand any of the ‘cool ninja’ moves of the skilled protagonist. I understand trying to convey the chaos of battle, but this film plays so poorly during the many many action pieces. Hence, my boredom and frustration watching it all unfold.
Overall, Taken 2 is just another example of Hollywood trying to cash in on the good name of the first film. The studio didn’t decide whether it should be made, or how to make it well, they just decided to make it. They hired the same actors to fill the roles, but that is far from the most important element to a sequel. A stronger screenwriter is a good start.
What Should You Do? Most definitely skip it.