By Shane M. Dallmann
I know, I know, I didn’t even want to see this one because the trailer was rammed down my throat a few hundred too many times. But my son BEGGED me to come along with him and his mother so we could all see it as a family (we’d all seen the original, albeit separately). And I DID like the first one, and I didn’t have to pay for the ticket, so…
I’ll spare you the details as you’ve seen the trailer hundreds of times yourselves, no doubt. Friends and (particularly) family of the baddies in the first movie target Liam Neeson, his ex-wife (Famke Janssen) and his daughter (Maggie Grace) for revenge in Istanbul.
I mention this much because I guess I have to be the one to say it. Maggie Grace is a charming and attractive actress and I have nothing against her whatsoever. Nor would I dare to call her “old,” “mature” or anything like that. But let’s face reality, folks… Ms. Grace is twenty-nine years old, and we’re supposed to accept her as a school-age youngster dealing with fall break, her first “boyfriend” and her driving test. This is right up there with “Steven McQueen” in THE BLOB, if you take my meaning, okay?
Beyond that, there’s nothing particularly wrong with the story… the success of the original demanded a sequel, and this is exactly the sort of obligatory follow-up one would concoct. Neeson is game, of course, and he’ll give you enough “moments” if he’s the only reason you want to see the film. And when it comes to “preposterous but amusing,” there’s the wonderful conceit of Grace pinpointing Daddy’s location by chucking hand grenades around Turkey, blowing up cars and water tanks but never actually hurting anybody or drawing the attention of the police…
But now that we have Olivier Megaton directing? I hedged my bet… I’m one of the few people who thought that COLOMBIANA was an improvement over TRANSPORTER 3, simply because it usually took the time to show the elaborate details the heroine worked out as opposed to blowing through everything in epileptic-seizure fashion. Unfortunately for TAKEN 2, however, good old “Megaton” has gone right back to the strobe light. Every fight, every car chase, every shootout… blip-blip-blip. You have no idea where you are or what’s happening until the dust clears and one guy’s left standing, and it’s always Liam Neeson.
The whole enterprise builds up to a ridiculous confrontation (“If you give me your word…”) for which the script obviously read “Set up TAKEN 3.”
If you want it, it’s yours. I’ll at least TRY to pass on it. Again.