More noise than signal

Taken 2

This review has been ‘repurposed’ from my other site, theOneliner.com

2008’s Taken was, in defiance of all sense and logic, an entertaining revenge-based action film based largely around Liam Neeson’s charisma. News of a sequel that can at best be categorised at “unnecessary” was never going to be another welcome surprise, but I suppose we shouldn’t pre-judge films. Unless it’s in the Twilight series.

Tekken 2 doesn’t deviate from the original’s formula much, the same cast returning with a few additions, a similar control method and upgraded graphics. This time Kazuya (Liam Neeson) must again take on the forces of the Mishima Corporation, controlled by Heihachi (Rade Serbedzija), in one of the more violent boardroom struggles of recent history.

Ahahaha. Just my little joke. (Yeah, very little – Ed.) Somewhat miffed by Bryan Mills (Liam Neeson)’s roaring rampage through his son’s little kidnap operation from the first film, bereaved father Murad Krasniqi (Rade Serbedzija) swears revenge and starts plotting against Mills and his still estranged but somewhat more friendly family. The opportunity for revengeance arrives during a family holiday to Istanbul, tacked on to the end of one of Mills’ private security details.

Lo, despite a good fight, the Albanian goons get the drop on Bryan and his wife Lenore (Famke Janssen). Just before they’re taken, in a neat callback to the first film, manages to get a call off to his daughter Kim (Maggie Grace) to warn her of the impending danger, allowing her to stay free and then help her family escape from their Turkish inverse delight.

And so it goes, in a way that will be more or less familiar to anyone who has watched the first one. Now, Taken was stupid enough to be brainlessly enjoyable, but the main problem with Taken 2 is that it’s only stupid enough to be stupid. I know realism isn’t high on the series agenda, but consequence-free, grenade-based echo-location is a particularly ridiculous proposition that should not be encouraged.

While the first film more or less hit the ground running and did not let up with its chasing and fighting and the like, this outing just hits the ground. The early doors waffling between Liam and Co’s family workshop is curiously stilted, for what’s a reasonably talented cast. Admittedly. A reasonably talented cast with an insipid, bland script, but still.

It can’t build enough momentum to overcome the sluggish start, and at points it seems content to drift back down to a stop, which isn’t what I’m looking for in my high-octane adrenaline thrill rides.

It’s not all bad, I suppose, with the few fight sequences in there well enough choreographed and Neeson is still a convincing physical presence, but it’s all a bit cursory and by-the-numbers. Overall, it winds up being a kinda mediocre action film that’s kinda boring and kinda not worth your attention.

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