Taken 2 (2012) review

Taken 2 posterDirector: Olivier Megaton

Starring: Liam Neeson, Maggie Grace, Famke Janssen, Rade Serbedzija

BRYAN – “If I kill you, your other sons will come and seek revenge?”
MURAD – “They will.”
BRYAN – “And I will kill them too.”

When the hero in an action movie ploughs his way through countless baddies, butchering and slaughtering them in the name of our entertainment (as well as whatever cockamamie reason the plot’s given him, of course), we never spare a thought for the families of the recently deceased.

After all, for every nameless terrorist, anonymous criminal and nondescript thug there’s a mother, a father and maybe even a wife and children somewhere mourning the death of a man who may have been a bit of a prick in real life but was always good to them at least. We’re usually never shown these devoted family members in films though, because it humanises the enemies and makes you feel sorry for them, when all you’re supposed to be thinking is “YES, chuck that fanny over the cliff”.

Taken 2 pic 1
“There’s the prick who told me to change at Kennington”

This is the thinking behind Taken 2, which takes place a few months after the events of the first film. Naturally, in order for me to describe the plot you’re going to have to accept that there are a couple of very minor spoilers from the first film ahead (nothing that you couldn’t reasonably predict yourself though).

After Bryan Mills (Liam Neeson) killed a load of Albanians on the way to his kidnapped daughter in the first Taken, the families of the deceased receive the bodies and vow to get revenge on the man that, in their eyes, butchered a village’s worth of young men. Through the traditional Taken plot methods (i.e. absurdly unlikely coincidences) they find Bryan on holiday in Turkey with his ex-wife (Famke Janssen) and daughter Kim (Maggie Grace). Continue reading “Taken 2 (2012) review”

Taken (2008) review

Taken posterDirector: Pierre Morel

Starring: Liam Neeson, Leland Orser, Famke Janssen, Maggie Grace

“I don’t know who you are. I don’t know what you want. If you are looking for ransom, I can tell you I don’t have money. But what I do have are a very particular set of skills, skills I have acquired over a very long career. Skills that make me a nightmare for people like you.

If you let my daughter go now, that’ll be the end of it. I will not look for you, I will not pursue you. But if you don’t, I will look for you, I will find you, and I will kill you.” (Bryan Mills, Taken)

Taken is one of those films that chooses to be completely ridiculous from start to finish, has absurd levels of action, packs plenty of unrealistic coincidences throughout its plot, leaves umpteen gaping plot holes in its wake, then flicks you a folded piece of paper and tells you that it contains information on the number of fucks it gives. Then, when it drives off on its flaming motorbike, you unfold the paper and look inside. It’s blank.

Liam Neeson plays Bryan Mills, a retired CIA agent who’s given up everything he had to move near his daughter Kim, who lives with his ex-partner (played by Famke Janssen). Since he cares for his daughter so much, he’s overly protective of her and as such is concerned when she asks him if she can go on holiday with her friend. Mind you, it’s understandable – she’s only 17 (even though she looks older… mainly because she’s played by a 25-year-old).

Get used to this picture, you'll see it a hell of a lot
Get used to this picture, you’ll see it a hell of a lot

It turns out his suspicions were spot on when, during a phone call to him, Kim is abducted from her French rental apartment by a bunch of Albanians who have dodgy plans for her… I won’t ruin the specifics but needless to say they’re probably fortunate she’s actually 25.

It’s here where things start to get ever-so-slightly unrealistic, as Bryan sends the recording of the phone call to his CIA buddies and finds out the exact region the kidnappers come from. He then heads to Paris to find them, and despite the city having a population of over two million people he finds a lead almost instantly. Continue reading “Taken (2008) review”