Movie Mind Says: Add to Bottom of Netflix Delivery List
If You Like This You Should Watch: Proof of Life, Man on Fire
Better Than: The Grey
Worse Than: Taken
Starring: Liam Neeson, Maggie Grace, Famke Janssen
I don’t know who you are. I don’t know what you want. If you are looking for something different than the first film, I can tell you I can’t offer that. But what I do have are a very particular set of skills; skills I have never explained how I attained, nor made any attempt at making you, the audience, think it’s reasonable a 60-year old man could kill 4 armed men at the same time with his bare hands. Skills that make you feel like The Expendables was realistic and did a good job of explaining the backstory. If you think this film is unique, believable, and like to waste money by running out to the theaters to see it, that’ll be the end of it. I will not look for you, I will not pursue you. But if you decide you’ve seen this same story in a different location already, I will look for you, I will find you, and I will somehow suck the $12 movie ticket out of you whether it is now or sometime before Taken 9.
One would think that after going through your daughter’s abduction and murdering about a dozen Albanian terrorists on your way to getting her back, that you might limit future family vacations to the Caribbean and avoid places like Istanbul. Apparently while Bryan Mills (Liam Neeson) can triangulate his location while being abducted and blindfolded from listening to the echo of a grenade blast, he still can’t figure out that he should probably avoid “exotic” locations. Either way, Mills is the target of revenge from the family of his prior victims. This time though, he doesn’t need to travel to a foreign land to find his daughter’s abductors amongst 12 million people. This time they come for him.
I’m not completely down on this film. I think Bryan Mills is still one of the cooler recent movie characters. Perhaps it’s because of the package he’s delivered in, a sort of giant Harrison Ford with an Irish accent. Liam Neeson is plenty suave for the part, but at some point we have to wonder why some tough guy 25-year old gangster can’t seem to land a punch against a gangly 6’ 4” senior citizen. I get that it adds to the allure and mystery of the character, but I’d sure like to know how or why he acquired those “skills” that make him a nightmare for people like us that want to figure him out. Special Forces? CIA? Retired boxer? Biker gang? Give us something for crying out loud. To me it’s still the main sticking point that carried over from the first installment. Aside from the killing machine he magically became, I want to know what kind of friends in high places he has that make sure he doesn’t have to answer for anything he’s done. Drive through a guard booth at the US Embassy? Cool. Shoot a police officer in a foreign land? Get out of jail free card. Have your daughter set off explosives all over the city in public on a whim? Let me freshen up your coffee for you sir.
The good news is that most of what we like about the original film is still there. The bad news is that it’s almost identical. They do a good job of tying in the original film, tweaking some of the characters (the daughter and ex), and sticking to the formula of ass-kicking and fast cut scenes. There are not a whole lot of dull moments so it’s definitely going to keep you on edge, but for some strange reason [snicker] we never really doubt that he’s going to find everyone and kill them all.
I have to give props that they kept the film to 90 minutes. That in and of itself is a reason to like it. In an age where you can’t watch a slapstick comedy or animated flick in less than two and a half hours, it’s a welcome relief. This is a classic rainy Sunday afternoon movie that you don’t have to spend too much energy on to enjoy. Sit back, watch the killing spree and badass dialogue, and enjoy. Just don’t set your expectations too high or expect explanation on such minutia as why someone could commit 30 murders in a foreign country yet still wind up home scot-free afterwards. Good luck.
Interesting Cameo Appearance: Rade Serbedzija (better known as a variety of roles requiring a tough looking Middle Eastern bad dude, from 24, to Shooter and MI2) as Murad Krasniqi, the father of the main bad guy in the first Taken who Liam Neeson tortured and electrocuted after abducting his daughter. Even though he was not really a cameo since he played the main bad guy, he is still that face we know we’ve seen all over but can’t quite remember his name.
Bryan Mills: Listen to me carefully, Kim. Your mother; is going to be taken. And people are gonna come for you to.
Bryan Mills: If I kill you, your other sons will come and seek revenge?
Murad: They will…
Bryan Mills: And I will kill them too.
Bryan Mills: Can you shoot?
Bryan Mills: Then drive!
Bryan Mills: When a dog has a bone the last thing you want to do is take it from him.
Kim: What are you gonna do?
Bryan Mills: What I do best.