Film Review: Taken 2

BACK AGAIN: Liam Neeson comes up against more swarthy henchmen
BACK AGAIN: Liam Neeson comes up against more swarthy henchmen

TAKEN 2 (91 min) (M)

Directed by Olivier Megaton.

Starring Liam Neeson, Maggie Grace, Famke Janssen

Taken (2008) was a massive success at the box office. I didn't think much of it, but that's no surprise. Regular readers of this page will know that I am afflicted by bouts of moist-eyed panty-waisted liberalism that render me quite incapable of appreciating sadism, torture, sexual abuse, and bigotry for the entertaining fun they so clearly are.

The good news is, Taken 2 might have cured me forever. Faced with a film as plain stupid as this, being offended isn't an option. Taken 2 just isn't worth the effort.

The plot is simplicity itself: The rellies who survived Liam Neeson's 2008 rampage want revenge. Via an hilariously over-written opening speech, we learn that the father of one of the slain villains has put the band back together, and they're planning on kidnapping and killing Neeson and family, who are conveniently visiting Istanbul that week. And so, another group of hopelessly incompetent swarthy henchmen is dispatched to take on Neeson's cold-eyed super-agent. What could possibly go wrong?

Neeson is still a prime slab of ageing man-candy. But when his character is telling his teenage daughter to not draw attention to herself one moment, and then has her lobbing hand grenades randomly off a hotel rooftop the next, it's hard to take him seriously. The baddies are possibly even dafter. Imprisoning Neeson in a room full of ropes and chains, the best thing they can find to secure his hands with is what appears to be a plastic bread bag tie.

When Neeson duly escapes 30 seconds later, he catches them unawares in their smoko room, where they are too engrossed in watching football on the telly and eating kebabs (no, really) to notice all the automatic gunfire erupting outside. Sheesh. I know that evil henchmen are never the sharpest pencils in the box, but where did they find these guys?

If you just want to take your brain off the hook for an hour-and-a-half and watch things go bang, then Taken 2 will do the job. But if you prefer your films to at least pay lip service to credibility, then avoid.

The Dominion Post