The Movie Waffler New Release Review - Taken 2 | The Movie Waffler

New Release Review - Taken 2

Directed by: Olivier Megaton
Starring: Liam Neeson, Famke Janssen, Maggie Grace, Rade Serbedzija 

While vacationing in Istanbul, Neeson and family are stalked by the Albanian mob who kidnapped his daughter in the first movie.
Before every movie screened in an Irish cinema there's a card from the Irish Film Classification Board which informs you of the rating that body has granted the film. Being well over the age of eighteen I never pay any attention but before "Taken 2" my attention was drawn to a special notice which read "12A On Appeal", something I hadn't seen before. Presumably the movie was cut for a lower certificate, and boy does it hurt it. The promotional material featured a sequence on a train which is nowhere to be seen in the final cut. Everything about this sequel feels toned down, even Neeson's character. In the original he was an intimidating presence who you genuinely believed would be capable of kicking anyone's ass. Here he comes across as a bit of a wuss, like when your cat comes back from the vet after being neutered.
 Of course the big problem with a second "Taken" is that now we know what Neeson is capable of it's hard for us to fear for his well-being, especially considering how amateurish the villains behave here. You don't need to be a criminal genius to know it's not a good idea leaving an ex special forces agent unattended after you capture him. Everything's all too easy for Neeson and culminates in a hilarious fight which sees him square off in a man to man fight with a bad guy who looks like he'd break a sweat climbing stairs.
Luc Besson, who once made enjoyable action flicks himself, has reinvented his career as the producer of countless B-grade European imitations of Hollywood action movies. It's the action genre equivalent of how the Asylum studio rips off big budget sci-fi movies. If the Asylum made a "Bourne Identity" knock-off it would be pretty similar to what we get here. Megaton tries to imitate Paul Greengrass' chaotic editing style, rendering the car chases and fights unwatchable and headache inducing. The score is a blatant rip-off of John Powell's thumping music from those films. The Chromatics' "Tick of the Clock", used so effectively over the brilliant opening scene of "Drive", is re-hashed here and serves to remind you how badly constructed this film is. I hate when music is stolen from other films but especially when it was used so well the first time.
As a film-maker, Megaton is the equivalent of the kid who is terrible at football but insists on wearing a Lionel Messi jersey. It just compounds how untalented he is.