Liam Neeson’s second tour of duty as the ruthless doting father, Bryan Mills, is without doubt one of the most unforgiveable, anger-inducing sequels ever made.
I enjoyed Taken; it was fun, entertaining and diverted me from reality for 93 minutes. Taken 2 is more disappointing than waking up on a Monday morning, thinking it’s a Sunday but soon realising it’s a Monday.
Taken was criticised for the fact that almost every single ethnic minority in the movie succumbed to being shot, crushed, tortured or electrocuted. B ut it was the action that made Taken the movie phenomenon it was.
As far as I was concerned the formula to make Taken 2 was quite simple. Daughter and/or other relative of Mills is taken by thugs + the line ‘I will look for you, I will find you and I will kill you’ + Mills armed to the teeth and kicking ass = successful sequel to Taken. Sadly, what materialised was nothing short of a futile piece of commercial detritus that leaves a bad taste in the mouth.
Admittedly, I wasn’t expecting Taken 2 to be as good as 2008’s Taken but when I read that Oliver Megaton (Transporter 3 and Colombiana) was replacing Pierre Morel as the sequel’s director the despair I felt was akin to that experienced by children who have just been told that Adolf Hitler is coming around to baby-sit.
Megaton is responsible for the diabolically boring Colombiana - I actually fell asleep whilst watching it.
And now his Taken 2 is just as ridiculously absurd as Colombiana.
Much of what made Taken so popular is cast aside, which makes viewing it all the more frustrating.
After rescuing his daughter from a group of Albanian sex traffickers in Paris in Taken, Mills returns to the safe streets of Los Angeles in the good old U S of A.
Life’s good back in pale- faced America and there’s not a bearded foreigner to be seen.
Mills’s ex-wife Lenore (Janssen - X-Men and Goldeneye) has separated from her second husband and is upset. Mills has a bit of private security work to attend to Istanbul and suggests that Lenore and daughter Kim (Grace - Lost and Lockout) join him.
Meanwhile, the relatives of those dispatched by Mills in Paris want their revenge.
Led by the growling Murad Krasniqi (Rade Serbedzija - Batman Begins and Snatch), the band of poorly-dressed goons arrive in Istanbul with the plan to kidnap Mills, his wife and his daughter.
What follows is best described as an hour of implausibility that would make the possibility of meeting aliens on your way to evening Mass sound likely.
In particular, there’s a scene where Mills and Kim drive at full speed in car towards the gates of a heavily armed American embassy.
“Don’t stop,” says Mills to Kim and 345664 bullets later, Mills makes a phone call to a friend back in America and asks him if he can call someone at the embassy to ensure that neither he or his daughter get shot - it’s a pity the line wasn’t engaged!
Taken was rated 15 and there’s a director’s cut with a rating of 18 but Taken 2 is a 12A.
Taken was such a success that those responsible for Taken 2 must have thought that they could realise a 90 minute long movie of Liam Neeson on a swing and people would turn up in their droves to watch.
Taken 2 feels like the production company, the director and indeed Neeson have simply cashed in.
In order to make as much money out of Taken 2, they failed to give any proper attention to originality or a decent script. The way the fight sequences are shot would suggest that the now 60 year-old Neeson is no longer up to the task.
Another aspect of Taken 2 that really annoyed me was the use of two songs from the soundtrack to Drive - namely Tick of the Clock by Chromatics and A Real Hero by College. Could Nathaniel Méchaly not come up with something unique?
Will there be a Taken 3? I hope not but in the off chance there is, I will look for it, I will find it and I will kill it - I promise!
VERDICT: 1/5 - It’s awful, you’ll feel angry and Neeson doesn’t once say the famous line - don’t waste your time, money or expectations.