Winnipeg Free Press - PRINT EDITION

Sequel's shortcomings will make you feel like the one who's been Taken

  • Print

In nature, lightning occasionally strikes the same place twice. In the movies, it almost never happens.

So as good as Liam Neeson was in Taken, as good as he often is in Taken 2, the sequel -- about the family of all those Albanians he killed in Taken taking their revenge -- is an often silly movie where the strain to stay credulous shows.

Neeson's retired secret agent, Bryan Mills, is being hunted by the few Albanians left after he massacred most of the Albanian mob for kidnapping his daughter Kim (Maggie Grace) the last time around. So what does he do? He invites Kim and ex-wife Lenore (Famke Janssen) along with him on a trip to Istanbul.

What could go wrong?

He doesn't know that the Muslim mobster (Rade Serbedzija) has sworn he will have his "justice." But Bryan is onto them in a flash. Next thing you know, he's giving his wife the same lecture he gave Kim, once upon a time in France: "I need you to FOCUS."

They're both nabbed. He warns his daughter with one last cell phone call. She too has to "FOCUS." (Again.)

Then, tied up and hooded, they're whisked off somewhere as Brian counts the seconds between turns, the sounds he hears passing, working out where they might be.

MacGyver has nothing on this dude.

The villain smacks his lips and makes speeches. In English. The few remaining Albanian mobsters all speak English.

"Your death weeel not be queeeck," he hisses. "It weeeel not be pleasant!"

Neither weeel yours, pal.

Producer/co-writer Luc Besson once gave us The Professional, a movie about a hitman savant, a "cleaner" (Jean Reno) whose arrival somewhere prompted bad guys to say, "Somebody's coming. Somebody SERIOUS."

Nobody's more serious than Neeson in this part. The hulking ex-boxer lumbers through Istanbul's narrow streets, shouts at his driver's test-flunking daughter ("Faster!") when they wind up in a stolen cab, takes a beating and delivers one, too.

But Besson, who lets Olivier Megaton direct these films, has run out of gags, ways to put characters into and out of jeopardy. Taken 2 defies logic and credibility as it puts its character's in harm's way and refuses to take the easy, logical way out.

And hilariously, our villain hears explosions, shots fired, and always says the same thing: "Go und zee what happened."

Besson's Islamophobia is an amusing subtext to all this. Here his characters are in perhaps the most beautiful and most secular city in the Middle East, and he never loses an opportunity to let us hear Muslim calls to prayer, suggest a conspiracy between Muslim mobsters and Muslim cops, or to have Bryan or his family shoot, smash, steal or set off grenades in scenic Istanbul.

It's as propulsive and kinetic as the original Taken, all chases and shootouts and brawls and narrow escapes. But this sequel's shortcomings make us feel like the ones who've been taken.

-- McClatchy-Tribune News Service

Movie review

Taken 2

Starring Liam Neeson, Maggie Grace and Famke Janssen

Grant Park, Kildonan Place, Polo Park, St. Vital, Towne

14A

90 minutes

Two out of five stars

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition October 5, 2012 D5

Fact Check

Fact Check

Have you found an error, or know of something we’ve missed in one of our stories?
Please use the form below and let us know.

* Required
  • Please post the headline of the story or the title of the video with the error.

  • Please post exactly what was wrong with the story.

  • Please indicate your source for the correct information.

  • Yes

    No

  • This will only be used to contact you if we have a question about your submission, it will not be used to identify you or be published.

  • Cancel

Having problems with the form?

Contact Us Directly
  • Print

You can comment on most stories on winnipegfreepress.com. You can also agree or disagree with other comments. All you need to do is be a Winnipeg Free Press print or e-edition subscriber to join the conversation and give your feedback.

You can comment on most stories on winnipegfreepress.com. You can also agree or disagree with other comments. All you need to do is be a Winnipeg Free Press print or e-edition subscriber to join the conversation and give your feedback.

Have Your Say

New to commenting? Check out our Frequently Asked Questions.

Have Your Say

Comments are open to Winnipeg Free Press print or e-edition subscribers only. why?

Have Your Say

Comments are open to Winnipeg Free Press Subscribers only. why?

The Winnipeg Free Press does not necessarily endorse any of the views posted. By submitting your comment, you agree to our Terms and Conditions. These terms were revised effective April 16, 2010.

letters

Make text: Larger | Smaller

LATEST VIDEO

City Beautiful trailer: How architecture shaped Winnipeg's DNA

View more like this

Photo Store Gallery

  • A Yellow-bellied Sapsucker hangs out on a birch tree in St. Vital. The Yellow-bellied Sapsucker is considered a keystone species. Other species take advantage of the holes that the birds make in trees. A group of sapsuckers are collectively known as a
  • Marc Gallant/Winnipeg Free Press. Local- Korea Veterans Association stained glass window at Deer Lodge Centre. Dedication with Minister of Veterans Affairs Dr. Rey Pagtakhan. March 12, 2003.

View More Gallery Photos

Poll

Are you still on the Bombers' and Jets' bandwagons?

View Results

View Related Story

Ads by Google