<Review by: Sailesh Ghelani>
Directed by Olivier Megaton. Starring Liam Neeson, Famke Janssen, Maggie Grace, Rade Sherbedgia.
In order to save himself and his kidnapped wife, Liam Neeson’s character tells his daughter to hurl grenades anywhere around Istanbul so he can hear if she’s closer to him. This is just one of the many inanities of this apocryphal film that made me laugh out loud at the sheer stupidity of it all.
You’d think after the first film ex-CIA agent Bryan Mills (Liam Neeson) would be more careful protecting his family. But then there wouldn’t be a sequel, would there. The first Taken carried itself to relative success with heaps of pounding action and Liam Neeson’s gritty performance. This second one has neither of those things and tons of ridiculously baffling plot points and bloopers.
His daughter Kim (Maggie Grace) is obviously shaken up after she was kidnapped and almost sold into a life of prostitution in the first film. She doesn’t trust easily and has a hard time taking her driving test so daddy Bryan Mills (Liam Neeson) gives her lessons while secretly checking in on his ex-wife and her disintegrating second marriage in an attempt to win her back. Now’s his chance and if the first film didn’t win her back then he’s probably hoping his streak of attracting bad guys will do the trick in this one.
But Bryan must first freak his daughter out by making her stick to driving lesson timings and when she doesn’t show up he tracks her down at her boyfriend’s house and parades her back to his car. Creepy!
In the meantime, the family and friends of the bad guys from the first film are burying all the men Bryan had to off on his chase to save his daughter from being sold in to human sex trafficking. I mean how could he have killed the guy who abducted his daughter! The father of said offed bad guy played by Rade Sherbedgia wants revenge. Hmmm… is that plausible. I mean did he not know what his son did and even if he was as evil surely he’d figure the son had it coming right? But he still thinks, ‘Yeah, let’s take on this guy who killed a dozen men with methodical and violent dexterity.’ What’s the worst that can happen?
So as Bryan and his ex-wife Lenore (Famke Janssen) and daughter Kim try to reconnect after some security work he has in Istanbul, the bad guys are plotting to capture them all. And they manage to do that pretty easily. But just before they catch Bryan and his wife, they allow Bryan to make a phone call to Kim at the hotel and tell her to run as they’re ‘being taken’. So these bad guys give him the time to make the call right in front of their eyes while they hold his wife hostage at gunpoint! Hmmm. And where pray tell does he tell his daughter to hide? Not with the hotel security, not with the police, not with some close trusted CIA agent in the area. But the closet of his hotel room! Of course they fucking look there. And fucking don’t find her!!
This will be a long review because the insanity doesn’t end. And director Olivier Megaton obviously didn’t watch the film in edit at all since he’s produced yet another incoherent film after duds like Colombiana and Transporter 3.
So Bryan and his wife are taken. He’s restrained with a plastic tie-up fixing him onto some metal piping. His wife, on the other hand, is tied up in chains and hung upside down with a cut in her throat dripping blood. Perhaps they should have reversed this situation. Because Bryan breaks out of the plastic cuffs, pulls his wife down, contacts his daughter with a little plastic mobile (that first time around calls his CIA pal but gets through his voice machine but magically the second time around he gets the pal’s cell phone!) and tells Kim to take out his CIA kit and map to figure out where he is since even though blindfolded during the abduction he had listened to sound cues so he could tell where he was being taken.
In what must be the worst movie idea ever, he tells his daughter to grab grenades from his kit and start hurling them over Istanbul so that if he heard them he’d know she was close!! What the fucking hell shit head idea is that? I was laughing my head off as she blindly threw a grenade over some shanty row houses and daddy’s like “You’re close honey.” Even though Turkey has no official state religion, this film shows us several mosques and you can hear Islamic prayers and see veiled women in most shots thus cueing it to be a very Muslim country. So it’s all right for a couple of ‘Moslim’s’ to get blown up to save him and his family. Apparently!
“I’ll come back for you,” he tells his bleeding wife as he goes to rescue his daughter who doesn’t have any grenades left. But then more goons take the wife again. And Bryan and his daughter crash the US Embassy in Istanbul and manage to have a little conversation in the car without being shot to bits by the marines. Oh during this drive across the city, Kim drives (because he knows how to shoot) and daddy is one mean motherfucker to her: “Stop, move, drive, faster” all bellowed at a voice that would make The Terminator quiver. He’s even scarier than the bad guys. And for a girl who has failed her driving test twice already her driving would make Jason Statham feel incompetent.
Bryan ends up shooting a police detective because he ‘has to’ and surprisingly gets no help from his ex-CIA buddies who are playing golf in America. The bad guys are okay being shot to bits one after another since they just wait around at the same location they kidnapped him to and try to torture his wife Lenore who very vilely tells the head baddy who is avenging his son’s death, “At least my daughter is still alive.” Who is writing this shit? Ah it is Luc Besson and Robert Mark Kamen, that’s who.
Bryan finally finds his wife and she’s lying there on the floor and he tells her again, “I’ll come back for you.” I’d be like give me the gun you asshole, what if they take me again.
The reason this review is so long is because I just had to tell you all the ridiculous plot points and inane situations that would be evident to you and me if someone read this script to us. How come these guys didn’t get it? Liam at 60 looks haggard and so does Famke Jensson and really this is all bad acting, bad dialogue, bad writing and bad directing. Taken 2 in my mind will appeal to brainless morons who think this is just ‘fun’ and not to be taken seriously. I say to these people go the fuck and watch your slapstick Bollywood crap, I don’t want Hollywood thinking we’re fine with this. Yeah, there I said it.