The first ‘Taken’ was the guiltiest of pleasures, as Liam Neeson’s retired secret agent set about massacring foreign nationals who had kidnapped his teenage daughter. It found an appreciative audience, especially among those who consider killing non-Americans equivalent to exterminating cockroaches.
In the sequel, so similar to the first that it’s virtually a remake, grieving Albanians ill-advisedly avenge Neeson’s killing of their loved ones by kidnapping him, his wife (Famke Janssen) and daughter (Maggie Grace). So, of course, he has to slaughter even more of them.
The decision to award this exceptionally violent film a 12A certificate is yet more evidence of galloping insanity at the British Board of Film Classification. Crude cuts made by Twentieth Century Fox to achieve that certificate make several action scenes even more baffling and incoherent than they already were.
Director Olivier Megaton used to be a graffiti artist called Olivier Fontana, and his adopted name gives away his approach to film-making. As he showed in the crap 2011 turkey ‘Colombiana’, he’s addicted to explosions, chases and fights, without the faintest idea of how to make them exciting.
Taken 2 is so chaotically shot and edited, it makes director Pierre Morel’s first film seem classy. The film’s big asset is Neeson. He is always an authoritative presence, and even at the age of 60, the 6’4” actor convinces in the fight scenes.
To read the rest of this article, and more, check out the November edition of The Phoenix!