Having moderately enjoyed, if finding some faults, the first 'Taken', part of me was hoping for a sequel along similar lines while still having some degree of freshness. Despite that it was reasonably poorly received and, although with notable exceptions, sequels tend to be inferior. Count me in however as another person who was underwhelmed by 'Taken 2'. Not irredeemably awful and there are worse sequels about (naming them would take up a whole review's worth), but 'Taken 2' was a real waste of reasonable potential, considering that it has the always watchable and often very good to great Liam Neeson as the main star. Even those who don't expect much in the first place will find themselves having big problems with the film. Before anybody says anything, am not the sort of person who is always with the general consensus, have been known a fair few times to go against the tide and part of me wanted to do so watching this but the film was just too problematic to enjoy it more and take it for what it was. 'Taken 2' is not without good points. Neeson is a strong presence throughout, thoroughly badass yet with some heart. It's photographed slickly and stylishly, some of the imagery thrills and chills. Music is a decent fit while not being intrusive. Some of the action is exciting and thrillingly choreographed, like with the rooftops, and again the violence is uncompromising without being too gratuitously so. However, there are a lot of problems here. Only Neeson gives a halfway decent performance. Famke Janssen has next to nothing to do and doesn't look interested, while Maggie Grace's character was just too annoying and shallow for me to endear to Grace herself or resonate with the father-daughter relationship. Of which there is more of, but to me there was not enough heart or development to it. The rest struggle in very underwritten and stereotypical roles. 'Taken 2' fails to bring the best out of Turkey or make it the star or its own character, in fact it looks cheap and everything is represented in a fashion rife with lazy stereotypes. Dialogue continues to lack clarity and be too over-the-top and the direction this time round lacks rawness and the same amount of momentum, pretty go-through-the-motions. It's the story that is the biggest failure. It is too much of a rehash of the first, except with a more fatigued pace, constant over-familiarity and even more ridiculous far-fetchedness and with wider lapses in logic and sense. Furthermore there is nowhere near the same amount of suspense or excitement. The climax is badly rushed and anti-climactic. Overall, okay but rather tired. 4/10 Bethany Cox
Action / Thriller
Action / Thriller
In Istanbul, retired CIA operative Bryan Mills and his wife are taken hostage by the father of a kidnapper Mills killed while rescuing his daughter.
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April 12, 2019