Friday, October 5, 2012

Taken 2 [2012]

MPAA (PG-13)  CNS/USCCB (A-III)  Roger Ebert (3 Stars)  Fr. Dennis (3 Stars)

IMDb listing -
CNS/USCCB review -
Roger Ebert's review -

Taken 2 (directed by Olivier Megaton, screenplay by Luc Besson and Robert Mark Kamen) as a PG-13 action flick is, IMHO, about the best as they come.  Indeed, while I know that there'd be many who'd disagree with me, I'd say that this film is _better_ than the original.

As in the first film, Taken [2008], retired presumed former CIA assassin Bryan Mills (played by Liam Neeson) is having difficulty coping with normal life.  The beginning of the film has him coming over to the home of his ex wife Lenore (played by Famke Jannsen) and their daughter Kim (played by Maggie Grace).  Kim had failed her driving test twice and they had an appointment to help her work on her parallel parking.  But Kim's not home.  "Why?"  "Well she has a boyfriend."  "A boyfriend?"  "She didn't want to tell you.  Promise me that you're not going to interfere."  "How could I?  I don't know she is."  "Well you flew to a city of 12 million and two days were able to find her."  Hmm... the next scene has Bryan knocking on the door of Kim's new boyfriend Jamie (played by Luke Grimes).  "Promise you're not going to kill this one" Kim asks in front of him ;-).  The daughters of overprotective fathers in law enforcement all over the world probably could relate ;-).

Anyway the movie really starts rolling afterwards.  Lenore who had been remarried confesses to Bryan a few days later that her second marriage is at its end.  Apparently husband #2 proved to have his own issues.  The immediate problem, however, was that soon to be ex-husband #2 in a pique of anger had cancelled the reservations for the vacation that she, hubby #2 and Kim were to take and she didn't know what to do.  As sensitively as a former CIA assassin, who's marriage to Lenore had collapsed no doubt to his previous lack of sensitivity, could offer ... Bryan suggests "Well, I'm going actually to Istambul for a couple of days next week to do 'a job.'   I could stay there for a week or two afterwards with you two if you'd like.  No pressure.  Just call me before the job is finished and I'll stay on.  If not, I'll just come home again."  In the next scene, we see an Arab sheik thanking Bryan for his security detail work for him in Istambul.  Brian checks his phone, there are no messages.  So he shrugs and appears to be ready to get his specialized suitcase with all his "gear" to head home to the States when his ex-wife and daughter surprise him.  They came out to Istambul afterall!

Now all would go like a nice family vacation (if on a rather blank credit card ...) if ... it had not turned out that the Godfather of the Albanian clan that had run that sex trafficking ring in Paris that had abducted Kim in the first movie and which Bryan had so thoroughly "dismantled" / rampaged through in the first movie did not take the deaths of so many of his clansmen, family members and even his own son so "personally."  Never mind that the son had run an evil sex trafficking ring, a son is a son, and Bryan had killed him.  So the father of this Albanian quasi-mafia clan (played exquisitely by character actor Rade Serbedija) wants revenge.  When he finds out from his sources that Bryan is in Istambul, well ... the rest of the movie follows ...

Parents do note here that the movie is, appropriately in my opinion, PG-13.  So there's a lot of shooting, a lot of glass breaking, a _great_ car chase scene where Kim (who, remember, had failed her driving test _twice_) had to drive. "Dad, I don't want to drive."  "Well, do you know how to shoot?" "No." "Then drive!" ;-) ;-), and some quasi-torture scenes (when Brian and his wife do fall into the hands of the Albanian quasi-mafia clan).  However, the camera never lingers and much is (thankfully) left for the imagination.

All in all, as I wrote above as far as an action flick goes, this is honestly an excellent one.  It's all the better when one realizes that underneath it all is basically the story of a father trying really hard to return back to his family, while his family is slowly coming to appreciate what their largely "absent father/husband" had to do "for a living" to "put food on the table."  The first movie really, really clicked with a lot of viewers.  I have a feeling that this one will too. ;-)

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1 comment:

  1. Father, I love your review. It describes this film perfectly. Yes, it was very exciting, and Famke Jannsen is stunningly beautiful. The thrills were worth the price of admission, but it's like that roller coaster ride because it's quickly forgotten. No complaints from me.