REVIEW: TAKEN 2
SYNOPSIS: Taken 2: Liam Neeson returns as Bryan Mills, the retired CIA agent who stopped at nothing to save his abducted daughter in TAKEN. When he is targeted by a vengeance-seeking crimelord, Bryan must employ his “particular set of skills” to protect his family against an army out to kill them.
Taken: Former government agent Bryan Mills has retired and attempts to reassemble his old life, after years of overseas employment have left him estranged from his teenage daughter. But when she is kidnapped while in Europe, Bryan must revert to his old skill set to rescue her before she disappears forever.
REVIEW: Screenwriters Luc Besson (Bandidas) and Robert Mark Kamen (The Karate Kid) stylishly reprised the role that seems to have propelled Liam Neeson in to the legitimate realm, as a hardened action hero. With flawless and seemingly effortless execution, Neeson delivers exactly the performance that's required of him as would-be retired CIA agent Bryan Mills, once again. Furthermore, it seems as though Director Olivier Megaton (Colombiana) took it a bit further this time around and creatively gave the role a gritty feel of even more brutality and mortal combat than the previous film. It is without a doubt, the close-quarters-combat is uncompromisingly nonstop and extremely exhilarating, in this follow up story. This is with the exception of a few backdrop sequences with Neeson’s character trying incessantly to be there as a father, for his “Kimmie,” (Maggie Grace - The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn Part 1). With a touch of ‘MacGyverism’ on display, professional badass Bryan Mills is kicking butt and taking names. He is primal in his convictions and dispatches tons of bad guys with any tool necessary. You will believe he can kill vampires with a broken wine glass, without pulling out any of his arsenal or weaponry.
Now, the movie was not perfect and there are several scenes that take away from this feature’s authentic feel. Firstly, there is a sequence involving a bag of grenades and a map of the (beautiful sprawling) city of Istanbul that seemed to spark a reaction of disdain, from the audience. Another is a sequence involving the throwing of those grenades around the city. I dare suggest that it is the strangest, funniest and most downright nonsensical use of hand-grenades in cinematic history. Thirdly, at the risk of my spewing out a spoiler; I’d say that the end result of a sequence involving a high-speed car chase that ended at the US Embassy was laughable at best. That is NOT to say that the car chase was not AWESOME! As a matter of fact, one might argue that it’s difficult to mess up a car chase scene when shot in European city locations because those environments tend to lend themselves ideally to mayhem and destruction a lot better than US city streets car chase scenes. However, with this particular scene, most audience members seemed to smirk (with a sigh of disappointment), at the end of the chase, after such an adrenaline filled, exciting vehicular hot pursuit. This is because its ending was just too far from anything possible in this age of terrorist attacks on US facilities abroad. In other words, as exciting as the car chase scene was, it simply ended on a seemingly unreal note, despite the excitement of the chase sequences.
Nonetheless the movie is exciting, exhilarating with a feel realism and visceral brutality, as well as intense sequences of violence and action. I thoroughly enjoyed this release of this Taken follow up and look forward to a part three. It, no doubt, deserves four and a half stars (out of five) for what I found as clear-eyed and unpretentious action entertainment.
By Movie-Man Stan
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