2008’s Taken wasn’t very good. It was enjoyable on an isn’t-this-shit-but-who-cares level, but it was poorly written and the plot would collapse under any degree of scrutiny. The sequel is worse. Whereas Taken was mildly enjoyable, Taken 2 is irritating, preposterous and the script sounds as if it’s been written by a bunch of twelve year-olds who have been given a boxset of Jean-Claude Van Damme action movies as inspiration. It’s actually co-written by Luc Besson, a depressing reminder of how talent can fade.
Once again, Liam Neeson kills foreign bad people, but this time Turkey is the location of choice, not Paris. The relatives of the people he killed and tortured in the first film want revenge. They attempt to kidnap him, his ex-wife and his daughter while they are in Istanbul. The daughter evades capture this time. She uses some of her dad’s special set of skills (he used to be in the CIA) and tracks him down. This involves a ridiculous set-piece involving the daughter throwing bombs out of a window so her father can guess where he is being held.
The first film had a tight and streamlined structure. It was nonsense, but it told a simple story and kept up the pace. Taken 2 is a mess – the plotting is all over the place. It jerks around, offering up gun fire where there should be logic.
The racial stereotyping present in the first film is cranked up to lunatic levels, as is everything else – the corny lines, the car-smashes, the violence (though bizarrely the BBFC awarded it a 12A rating). It’s a poisonous, vacuous and downright appalling mixture of vapid rubbish. I await Taken 3 with dread.
Taken 2 (2012), directed by Oliver Megaton, is distributed in the UK by Twentieth Century Fox, Certificate 12A.