Taken 2

MACGYVER MEETS 24?

Bryan Mills has been kickin’ butt and taking names since the C.I.A. was in diapers, and Taken 2 proves the Albanians are gluttons for punishment when their track-suit mafia seeks revenge for Mills’s slaying of their human-trafficking brethren.

Breaking it down: not advised for the kids, mostly due to PG-13 violence. I don’t recommend this one, even for a red-box rental.

Here’s why:

This movie is basically a collection of deleted scenes from the first Taken. It’s a tragedy, but the sequel is an after thought and it shows. From the first movie, we have an interesting, engaging character and some tension-filled action sequences that culminate into a believable and satisfying conclusion.

The sequel follows up with a so-so flick; which is tension-less with basically a single action sequence that runs about 40 minutes and involves Bryan talking his daughter through locating her kidnapped parents, using a shoe string, a map and a few handy grenades over a cell phone the size of a thumb drive.

While I like the concept of a kidnapped Bryan Mills trying to escape whilst saving his family, this could have been much more interesting. Instead, the movie introduces a villain who’s forgotten the moment he’s off camera, a less developed Bryan Mills, and more of the same action we saw in the first movie.

Also, I’ve had enough of the seizure-inducing cinematography with its jarring jolts, light flashes and disorientation. It looks as though the cameraman is in the throes of an anaphylactic shock. I’d rather see things more clearly, and let the tension come from knowing what exactly is going on.

I digress.

Neeson, Grace and Janssen do well together, though it’s not enough to make this rent-worthy.

Perhaps we can look forward to a redeeming third installment. I’d like to see Bryan and his C.I.A. buddies running a private company. Something that involves a bit more intrigue and imagination.

The moral of this story? Human traffickers have feelings too.
The good news for them is there are still plenty of group therapy sessions on the horizon, as long as their gang members keep providing new funerals for them to attend.

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