Liam Neeson impersonates MacGyver in Taken 2

taken3If you thought Taken (2008) was improbable, get ready for Liam Neeson’s best MacGyver impersonation and the most impossible action movie ever.  This time around, it is Liam Neeson and Famke Janssen who are taken, but this is pretty much the same movie as the original.  It has the same tone, the same cues, and the same physical action sequences.  Maggie Grace has a little more to do, and trades places with Janssen as the damsel in distress.  Unfortunately, there are too many clichés and action tropes for me to really enjoy this as much as the first, because they can fool me once, but try to fool me twice, and I become a movie critic.

The bad guys from the first movie apparently have friends, so they’re back to get revenge.  One of the elder bad guys stereotypically proclaims, “Yes, we will have our revenge, bwhahaha”.  Fortunately, this sets up Taken 2 with all the same things we liked about the original, including Liam Neeson kicking a bunch of ass.  Unfortunately, it doesn’t have as many one-on-one fights and the brutality is toned down.

taken4The most annoying parts are Neeson as Bryan using some sort of supernatural power to track down his wife in the middle of Istanbul (not Constantinople).  After being thrown into a car and blindfolded, Bryan counts the seconds and listens to the sounds in order to remember EXACTLY where he’s going.  He’s like Sherlock Holmes or something.  In another scene, he pops up just in the nick of time to save his daughter, and later does the same thing to save his wife.  He must have a transporter.  He has abandoned his anti-hero personality at this point, and he’s fully Superman in this one, leaving his reluctance at the door.

The pace is also off in this movie.  I think the director was trying for tension and suspense, but many scenes feel drawn out, but the fights are not given enough time.  In the middle portion, Bryan walks around for a long time, which is intercut with a lot of gunfire and quick edits.  Most of it feels redundant.  Still, it has everything from the original except more of it, so I guess that’s something.  The best scene has Neeson facing off a burly gangster in an extended physical punch-out, which is about two minutes instead of one.  If I ever thought 6’5″ Neeson was in any danger, it was not from this guy.  Still, the action is good, but it’s too short to be memorable.

This movie is directed by Olivier Megaton, who plays around with Luc Besson’s screenplay and story, but it’s not the same.  There’s really not much for me to say about this movie, because it’s just more of the same.  Neeson impersonating MacGyver and using his superpowers is kinda funny, but that’s just one improbable thing out of many.  29 year old Maggie Grace plays a high school student, and I wish she’d just grow up.  Overall, I could probably say the same about this movie.

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