Saturday, October 13, 2012

Taken 2 (2012)

To say that Taken 2 is a logical movie is a bit of a stretch.  It's a story of our protagonist (Liam Neeson) getting involved in another plot where he needs to rescue his family from bad people.  The original was an interesting and powerful piece of action, adventure, and suspense.  Taken 2 does have its moments of thrills and suspense, but doesn't come close to the originals originality.  Having said that "Taken 2" is a great popcorn movie, and for an audience who has grown to like Liam Neeson's character it's got some really good sequences that will have you gripping your seat.

The daughter played by Maggie Grace has a bit more to do here and she really has some good scenes.  Famke Janssen plays the mother and does a fine job at playing the damsel in distress, but it is Liam Neeson who we all have come to see.  He does a great job here playing Bryan Mills the super spy or security expert.  I really don't know what he does and for whom, but the movie eludes that he was ex-CIA, and now he seems to be a freelancer of some sort.  The important thing is that it isn't important to know.  It's just cool watching him in action, and seeing how super smart he is.  There is one scene where he and his daughter try and find where he is being held captive, and for some reason I buy it.  I won't tell you how, but it is an interesting scene, and is played well by both Ms Grace and Mr Neeson.

The photography is quite nice too.  There are many shots of Istanbul which seem like a travelogue.  I'm sure Turkey's film commission specifically made sure that they get some beauty shots of their capital.  I believe Taken and Taken 2 are financed through European money hence the locations.  The first in the series did extremely well, and caught everyone by surprise, but it is a good film, and well put together.   Having it become a franchise is I guess what ever studio wants.  But a successful franchise happens only if the audience buys the characters.  The audience is the one who determines that, and they do so with their pocketbook.  I guess the powers to be decided that it would be great to do it again only mix it up a bit for the sequel.  That is okay for a time, but after awhile the character or characters needs new adventures.  I believe Liam Neeson's character Bryan Mills has a whole lot more stories to be written about.  Their is some depth to the character, and that makes it interesting.  But if the studio continues to re-hash the same plot over and over again it will loose its audience.  So just a warning guys.  If you continue the franchise come up with some better stories.  The abduction thing is getting a bit played out.

Having said all this.  I really did enjoy the film.  It's not great cinema, but its entertaining and that's what I'm paying for.  I do have a complaint about what happens in the end.  The ending felt false, and it lost steam for me.  Their was no FINALE, just a final, and in a story about revenge you need a big finale, and the film doesn't deliver that.

You root for the good guy and boo at the villain.  When the villain gets his you want it to be in some dramatic way.  The ending that is given is lackluster, and has no big reward for the audience.  It seemed rushed, and for that it didn't work for me.  Yes the studio does leave it open for a third film to be made, but again better plot, and a bit more originality and I think the studio will have a successful franchise.  If they choose more of the same it will be a running joke, and not worth doing, or seeing.  Keeping that in mind I hope they continue to do so.  I like Liam Neeson's character.  It's like the Jack Ryan in Tom Clancy's novels.  There is more to be mined from the character.  Let's just hope the studio doesn't drop the ball.

So if you like a good popcorn flick, and some action I recommend the film.  It's a good night out, and it will leave you wanting a bit more, which is what a good film should do.

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