Taken 2 proves unworthy successor to original

Plentiful plot holes, subpar writing undermine sequel, denigrate first film

I need to start out my review with a bit of a Public Service Announcement this time. I think of my job as a reviewer as having three related angles to it. First, I think I need to give you, the reader, a value judgment on the material, whether or not it is worth your money. Second, I aim to make material that isn’t everyone’s cup of tea more accessible to a wider audience—something which I try to accomplish through my third goal, which is to entertain. Not everyone cares about movies where men go to foreign lands and fight ambiguously foreign people. Not everyone likes games where you shoot aliens in exotic locales. I try to make what I write funny or amusing enough for you to get a decent opinion on something, whether or not you really care about it.

Now to get to the meat of my review: Taken 2. Taken 2 isn’t really that much of a successor to Taken. Taken was a decent flick that was intense, had a halfway coherent plot, and was one of the first times Liam Neeson was seen going and kicking ass in a foreign country. Taken 2 is really just another episode of what has quickly become a hit show: Let’s Watch Neeson Go to an Exotic Place and Murder People There.

The first half of the movie wasn’t bad. It was formulaic in every way like the dozens of movies it resembles, but that doesn’t necessarily mean that it was bad. The actors and plot executions made it tense and interesting in the right proportions. Where the movie goes off the rails is after all the taking has already happened. As you might have guessed from the title of the flick, folks get taken, and then there is a rescue, but the entire rescue bit almost hurt to watch.

I am a firm believer in the suspension of disbelief as a plot device. Science fiction as a genre relies upon it almost entirely. Where a movie loses me is when it takes that suspension of disbelief and uses it as an excuse to insult my intelligence. For a movie that purports to take place in our reality, I don’t even know where to start.

The driving is patently ridiculous. And honestly, the police, Neeson, and all of the bad guys were the most idiotic people I have ever seen. No one used real hand cuffs, the bad guys are the worst at injuring people, and the Istanbul police don’t know how to drive. The director and producer both have no clue how security at a US embassy works, and has no one in the entire world ever heard of the double tap?

Also, Neeson would have been dead in five minutes had any one of the bad guys had half a brain or been a coward. They were all the most deadly combination of foolhardiness and incompetence I have ever seen, and if Neeson’s performance was any kind of indicator, you can kill people in real life simply by holding their heads. Finally, for the love of whatever you find either holy or unholy, depending of course on your preferences, the GPS of an Istanbullian cab driver would not be in English!

Overall, this movie is not worth your time. I guess if you have too much money, and just really want to see Neeson hurt people in a new and strange land, go for it. In all other cases, go buy lunch with that money or really anything else.

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