Follow Us on Twitter

Taken 2 - DVD Review

Taken 2

Review by Rob Carnevale

LIAM Neeson’s second time out as ex-government agent Bryan Mills epitomises everything that’s bad about sequel movie-making.

Whereas the original Taken was one of 2008’s best surprises and a genuine guilty pleasure, its successor is one of 2012’s biggest disappointments and an utterly forgettable experience.

Part of this can be blamed on the plot limitations posed by having the same shit happen to the same guy twice, albeit tweaked to have Mills and his wife (once again played by Famke Janssen) ‘taken’ by the father of one of the men he killed first time out. The device feels cheesy to say the least.

But the biggest bug-bear – certainly upon the film’s cinematic release – was undoubtedly the decision to water down the violence in favour of a box office boosting 12A rating. Now that it’s available on DVD, that rating has increased to 15 and the action arrives in harder form. But it still pales by comparison to the original.

And this still smacks of putting the film’s commercial potential first, meaning that audiences who missed the absent harder stuff in cinema form will have to fork out to see it in DVD/Blu-ray form again. Can we expect an even harder cut, 18 certificate version some months down the line?

Taken 2 gets by on Neeson’s charisma and his decision to portray Mills as even more world-weary this time around, as well as a couple of set pieces that don’t rely as much on combat: namely, a nifty car chase around the streets of Istanbul and an audacious sequence involving the abducted Mills trying to find out his own location by directing his daughter (Maggie Grace) using a map, some shoelace and a couple of grenades.

But even then, much of the kidnap element feels contrived, as do the moments of family drama that book-end the movie.

Taken 2 always had to contend with the loss of the novelty factor but by dumbing things down and playing around with expectation, it feels particularly pointless and profit-driven.

Certificate: 15
Running time: 97mins
UK Blu-ray & DVD Release: February 4, 2013