REVIEW: TAKEN 2
OVERVIEW: He hunted them, he found them, he killed them; now they have come back to settle the score. Twentieth Century Fox Home Entertainment presents the return of former CIA operative Bryan Mills and his “particular set of skills” when TAKEN 2 arrives on Blu-ray Combo Pack and DVD January 15. The sequel to the 2008 box office smash Taken, this action-packed follow-up has brought in $135 million theatrically in the U.S. alone.
SYNOPSIS: Oscar- and BAFTA-nominated actor, Liam Neeson (Clash of the Titans, Taken, Batman Begins) returns as Mills, the retired CIA agent who stopped at nothing to save his daughter Kim from kidnappers. When the father of one of the villains Bryan killed swears revenge, and takes him and his wife hostage in Istanbul, Bryan must enlist the help of Kim to escape. Bryan then employs his unique tactics to get his family to safety and systematically take out the kidnappers, one by one.
FILM 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
The film is
presented in widescreen in a 2.39:1 aspect ration preserving its
theatrical format. The picture is just flawless. Not only the
picture looks great in this release, also the sound it is good,
a 5.1 Dolby Digital in English that provides a good complement
to the picture. It also includes English,
and Spanish subtitles.
Widescreen (2.39:1) 16x9
English: 5.1 Dolby Digital Spanish: Dolby Surround French: Dolby
Subtitles - English Spanish
Unrated and Theatrical Cut
Black Ops Field Manual and Kill Counter
Tools of the Trade
Deleted and Extended Scenes