Taken 2 (2012) – USA

Review by: Andrew Chan FCCA AACTA
Review Date: 27th September 2012
@ Media Screening Couteusy of 20th Century Fox
In cinemas around Australia by 4 October 2012.

“Taken 2” feels far too much like a franchise film, loses all the edge of your seat impact of the original, filled with clichés dialogue and contains rather predictable plot line. The result is a below par attempt to recreate the excitement of the original and the conventional and boring final 30 minutes did not help the proceeding.

“Taken 2” cashes in on the same concept that made the first film a sleeper hit, despite its modest budget. However, this film loses the audience minute by minute, when it should have an edge of your seat thriller. French director Olivier Megaton (who previous worked with Luc Besson on “Transporter 3”) along with the script writing duo (Besson and Robert Mark Kamen ) are both key accomplices for the sequel failure to excites or entertain. It must be admitted that the film is well structured from the opening minutes and even manages to sustain an adequate level of suspense for a good 50-60 minutes, but from then on, it all goes to hell. In fact the film is filled with unintentional humour and constant unnecessary referral to the first film, making it almost impossible to take the situation seriously.

Liam Neeson is one actor that never fails even when everything else besides him falls apart. He tries extremely hard to keep the film afloat and have a good enough revengeful screen presence to attain the audience attention. However, at times, even Neeson’s intense look can seem a little repetitive and combining with a lacklustre script and plotline, the result is a rather cliché and predictable final 30 minutes of bore-fest. Maggie Grace reprises her role as the daughter in the original film, but here she is not given enough material to work on. At times, Grace just seems lost within the chase and unsure of where her character needs to be. Famke Janssen adds nothing to the proceeding as she spend most of her time either kidnapped or in a black bag wrapped around her face. Perhaps the biggest issue of all comes in the form of the villainous role played by veteran Rade Šerbedžija, who is neither menacing nor interesting for the audience to feel the full effect.

I have always been a keen admirer of Luc Besson’s body of work, while he can be a hit and miss; there is always something in his films that makes it slightly different to the usual Hollywood. His recurring themes of human degradation and the brutal nature of humanity provides a different take on Hollywood action cinema. While the original “Taken” explores the tried and true issue of human trading and forced prostitution, this film does not seem to have any particular focus and the end result is seemingly coming down to an vengeful factor that is never truly explored. While the first film director Pierre Morel (a keen cinematographer), provides a sharp and constant edgy look that makes the film such a success, Megaton lacks this crucial ability and in turn moves the camera so often that the audience is unable to focus on the action on display.

All in all, “Taken 2” is one of those films that try too hard to follow the same premise, tricks and plotline as the original. However, the film lacks a decent script, an important issue, a crucial focus and sharp and edgy direction that is required to make this kind of film clicks. Looking on the brighter side, the film does start pretty convincingly and even manages to sustain the audience attention for a good hour, but from that point onwards, it is essentially a cliché and predictable bore-fest. (Neo 2012)

I rate it 5/10

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