Thursday, November 15, 2012

Taken 2

There’s something about Luc Besson, the French maverick filmmaker, known for some really stylist thrillers, such as ‘La Femme Nikita’, ‘The Professional’, and some not-so-grand adventures, like ‘The Fifth Element’. But, whatever he does, it’s worth a watch; to begin with, they look good (I loved his later supernatural comedy-romance ‘Angel-A’). Later, he turned producer and launched many a careers, and many a sequels, the well known among them is ‘The Transporter’; and last year’s not so impressive ‘Columbiana’, and trust me, there are a number of other films in between, in English and in French.

One of them was ‘Taken’, the 2008 fiesta that catapulted an ageing Liam Neeson, and a brilliant actor (he was Shindler in that Spielberg movie, before that he was Rob Roy, better still he was Michael Collins). ‘Taken’ made him an action hero and how! It wasn’t a fluke. In the next few years he starred in several such actioners, from the average ‘Unknown’ to the nihilistic ‘The Grey’. And filmmakers refuse to stop milking the actor’s aging action hero image.

Now comes a sequel to ‘Taken’, which apparently is a box office gold. But, not everyone is convinced...

Writes David Germain of Associated Press: Planning to pay out good money to see “Taken 2?? To paraphrase Liam Neeson, you’re about to be taken.... Whatever novelty there was watching Neeson go commando in 2008's “Taken” is gone in the sequel, a mix of third-rate action, dreary family melodrama, laughable bad guys and even more laughable plot devices. ... “Taken 2? is so bad it feels as though producer and co-writer Luc Besson swept up odds and ends cut from the first movie and slapped them together between a few new scenes shot with Neeson’s retired CIA guy Bryan Mills, his daughter (Maggie Grace) and ex-wife (Famke Janssen). ... The original was relentlessly paced and just flew by. The sequel is about the same length yet takes its good old time putting the villains and viewers out of their misery. ... Besson and director Olivier Megaton (“Transporter 3?) pad “Taken 2? with really awful reconciliation moments between Mills and his family, and once the action finally kicks in, it’s nothing but repetitive kill shots to the head, snapping of necks and poorly edited hand-to-hand fights.
More here.

Roger Ebert, however, is more generous: Poor Kim Mills. She doesn't even have her driver's license yet, and she's been kidnapped by sex traffickers in Paris and terrorists in Istanbul. This despite her having a father so protective that he implants a GPS app in her iPhone and bursts in on her making out with her sweet, polite boyfriend. ...
I suppose the second kidnapping was necessary in "Taken 2," which stars Liam Neeson, Maggie Grace and Famke Janssen in a pumped-up sequel to "Taken" (2008). They say that the family that's kidnapped together, stays together and a whole lotta bonding will go on after this one. You don't need to have seen the first film to follow this one, which opens with touching scenes between ex-CIA man Bryan Mills (Neeson) and his ex-wife Lenore (Famke Janssen, who is seriously beautiful here). Lenore's new husband has proven to be a no-good rat, and some energy flows between her and Bryan, the father of their daughter Kim (Maggie Grace). Mills has been hired to be a sheik's bodyguard in Istanbul; when he wraps the job, he invites Kim and Lenore to join him for some R&R in Istanbul. ... Bad idea. He's only a stone's throw from Albania, where the film opens with a funeral of Mills' victims from the first "Taken." I have long complained that action pictures leave dozens of dead bodies behind and unaccounted for. Now we see that Mills killed so many bad guys in the first film that a transport plane is needed to airlift their bodies home, and a mass burial is required to dispose of them.
More here.

Taken is a 2008 French thriller film produced by Luc Besson, starring Liam Neeson, Maggie Grace and Famke Janssen. The screenplay was written by Besson and Robert Mark Kamen, and directed by Pierre Morel. Neeson plays a former Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) operative who sets about tracking down his daughter after she is kidnapped by human traffickers while travelling in France. The sequel, Taken 2, was released on 3 October 2012. Despite receiving mixed reviews, Taken has generated a strong cult following since its 2008 release, and numerous media outlets have cited the film as a turning point in Neeson's career that redefined the actor as a successful action film star.
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