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"Taken 2" Reviewed

"Olivier? I'm hearing this movie just might suck the big one."

I greatly enjoyed the first "Taken" film. I like elegant action films in the vein of the first Bourne movie, and Liam Neeson excelled as an aging ex-CIA agent relentlessly pursuing his daughter's kidnappers. We felt his pain and confliction as he did horrible things in the name of getting his daughter back, and his exhaustion at pushing himself beyond his limits was plausible. Those of us who are familiar with Liam Neeson may have been surprised that his character was even still alive at the end of the film.

So I went into Taken 2 with high hopes that were quickly dashed about a third of the way through the film. Not only does this movie not measure up to the original, it's an almost a transparent attempt to cash in on the franchise. It brings almost of the suspense and fun of the first film.

The real tragedy of this film is that it starts off with tremendous promise and a top-flight cast. Rade Serbedjzia (Batman Begins, X-Men: First Class) heads a cast of renegades who are left in mourning, as Bryan Mills' rampage left a lot of their family members in the ground. Over their graves, he swears bloody vengeance and you believe it. You believe this man, twisted as it may be, is justified for wanting revenge. You empathize with him and in a dark part of your soul, you actually hope he gets his vengeance.

Unfortunately, the fun of the film pretty much ends there. You've seen everything else before, although it's strained and hackneyed. In a scene where Bryan Mills must detail an escape route a loved one (who does not have his skill set) in , he recites a complicated map that for some reason, the loved one has very little problem navigating despite the fact that they are panicking and pursued. 

We are also deprived of the many exotic locales of the first film; Taken 2 takes place primarily in one location.

The only highlight of the film was the final fight sequence. Despite the fact that he's approaching his sixtieth birthday, Liam Neeson moves with a swiftness that belies his age. 

This movie did not need to be made. Few things are worse than a top-flight cast at the top of their game sludging through average scripting and disorienting camerawork. Rent this film if you're a fan of the original, but don't buy it.



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