Taken 2
dir Olivier Megaton
prd Luc Besson
scr Luc Besson, Robert Mark Kamen
with Liam Neeson, Maggie Grace, Famke Janssen, Rade Serbedzija, Leland Orser, Luke Grimes, Kevork Malikyan, Luenell, Jon Gries, Laura Bryce, Aclan Bates
release Fr 3.Oct.12, UK/US 5.Oct.12
12/France Europa 1h31
Taken 2
Take that! Neeson and some random goons

grace janssen serbedzija
See also:
Taken (2008) Taken 3 (2014)
R E V I E W    B Y    R I C H    C L I N E
Taken 2 Even more preposterous than the 2008 original, this hard-core revenge thriller picks up just where Taken ended. Not only is it irresponsibly violent for a movie aimed at 12 year olds, but it's also deeply stupid. Although once again the actors lend it some class.

After most of their men were killed in Paris as ex-CIA operative Bryan (Neeson) rescued his daughter Kim (Grace) from a human trafficking ring, the Albanian thugs are rallied to vengeance by their patriarch Murad (Serbedzija). They track Bryan on a business trip to Istanbul, where he's being joined by Kim and his ex-wife Lenore (Janssen) for some post-work tourism. The Albanians pounce, grabbing Lenore and Bryan, who calls Kim on a secreted mobile device and coaches her on how to rescue her parents.

Screenwriters Besson and Kamen have never shied away from a contrived plot point, but this is notably inane even for them. From Kim's driving lessons, she's able to do impressive daredevil stunt-driving through Istanbul's narrow cobbled streets, destroying half of the city's police cars in the process. And that's after an acrobatic rooftop chase sequence involving both exploding grenades and machine-gun fire. Meanwhile, Bryan is beaten to within an inch of death and yet repeatedly turns the tables on his captors.

Through it all, Neeson remains cool and unruffled, growling the jingoistic dialog as if he means it while never hesitating to blow away anyone who looks unshaven and vaguely Albanian. Elements of the character have the ring of truth, but filmmaker Megaton exploits everything so ruthlessly that they become corny cliches. Grace gets to have the most fun with a series of ludicrous action set-pieces, while Janssen is stunned into silence for most of the movie.

Megaton shoots and edits everything in such a way that we can only barely see what's going on. Some of the choppiness is clearly designed to get a 12 certificate, which leaves key moments unclear. And much of the set design is insultingly stereotypical: Albanian Muslims are thuggish brutes whose derelict living standards follow them wherever they go. In other words, this is yet another xenophobic, bloodthirsty action movie that audiences should really avoid. Except that they won't, because it's enjoyably mindless entertainment.

cert 12 themes, strong violence, language 25.Sep.12

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© 2012 by Rich Cline, Shadows on the Wall