johnlink ranks TAKEN 2 (2012)

Took Charlie to see her first movie on her one month birthday. Not that she cared.  One perk of being in management at a movie theater is that you can bring your wife and one-month-old into the cinema at 9:00 AM and start a show at half volume a couple of hours before the public shows up. Charlie made it through too. Liz  even got to see 98% of the movie too.

I watched TAKEN 2 (2012) on 11.3.12. It was my first viewing of the film.

I had mixed feelings when word of this film popped up. On the one hand, I will always sign up for Liam Neeson fighting people. On the other, the first film was a small, but happy, accident. I wasn’t sure this could be turned into a sequel without feeling like it was a stretch.

So here comes this second film. Neeson has made nice (even if he hasn’t made up) with his ex-wife (Famke Janssen). He still keeps too-close tabs on his daughter (Maggie Grace). They all end up in Istanbul on a pseudo-vacation. The vacation, as you might guess, doesn’t go all that smoothly. Some people are really pissed about all the bad guys Neeson killed in the first TAKEN, so they are coming back for revenge.

Putting the entire family in danger works for this film. And leaning on the daughter to do some heavy lifting and life-saving is smart. Ultimately, though, we came to TAKEN 2 in order to watch Liam Neeson get angry and fight people. Oddly, we get precious little of this.

TAKEN 2 is oddly paced, and when the last action beat started, I was sure there was more to come. Where TAKEN, the first, did a spectacular job of making the audience feel like the odds were absolutely impossible to overcome, this second installment feels a bit too easy. The bad guys pretend to be bad, but there is no one guy who feels truly dangerous. The movie attempts to mirror the first in that we see the villain as Neeson, only Armenian. Instead, the movie never humanizes the villain to a point where we care about him, or where we think he’s ever actually going to hurt Neeson or his family. For a movie about kidnapping, the stakes in this movie are amazingly low.

Neeson does his thing, and it is entertaining enough for that. Both Janssen and Grace are assets as his family. But nothing outside of those three really matters, and the danger just isn’t felt. I’m not saying TAKEN 2 is bad, but it doesn’t hold a candle to the first. They tease a third movie at the end of this. Hopefully, a third film manages to be more powerful.






~ by johnlink00 on November 3, 2012.

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