chris kilby -> RE: Taken 2 (31/10/2012 4:59:17 PM)
I avoided the first Taken after I read about how bad it was in EMPIRE. Then someone lent me a copy and… I thought it was one of the funniest things I’d ever seen. I was actually surprised how po-faced EMPIRE was about it at the time.
While clearly thick-ear garbage aimed squarely at the Nuts-“reading” Jason Statham crowd, I thought it was slyly satirical thick-ear garbage aimed squarely at the Nuts-“reading” Jason Statham crowd.
Where EMPIRE saw racism and xenophobia I saw a French film, don’t forget, which seemed to be parodying American racism, xenophobia and paranoia about foreigners while cynically playing up to and exploiting it. And if it wasn’t, it may as well have been.
Liam Neeson’s comely if not-too-bright daughter is barely off the plane in Paris before she is set up by the first guy she meets, kidnapped and sold into what used to be called “white slavery.”
Big Liam goes after her, of course. And the very first person he meets the moment he steps off his plane in Paris just happens to be the very guy who facilitated the kidnapping of his daughter – something he seems to intuit instinctively. At one of the busiest airports in the world. What do you suppose the odds against that would be?
Indeed every foreigner Big Liam meets is dodgy and/or “swarthy” looking. And it gets better. Or worse. Big Liam goes after his daughter’s kidnappers with the relentless tenacity of a Terminator but without the laughs. “I will look for you. I will find you. And I will kill you. I’ll be back. Fuck you, azzhole. Hasta la vista, baby,” etc.
And, it must be said, with the luck of the Irish. Big Liam invariably picks the right route, the right location and the right door. Every time. Without fail. When he stumbles on a room full of drugged-up, out-of-it, remarkably unspoiled kidnap victims, he just happens to rescue at random the one who not only remembers his daughter, but knows where she is. So she couldn’t have been that out of it then. I dunno, maybe The Force was still with him or something.
It was like Screenwriting 101 in reverse. In Big Liam’s effortless journey from convenient plot point A to convenient plot point B at no point is anything even remotely resembling an obstacle or hurdle placed in his path. Taken is the antithesis of drama. Comedy in other words. I genuinely thought it was hilarious. Pure comedy gold which treated its knuckle-dragging target audience with barely-disguised contempt.
Sorry, what was that? Never mind all that bollo, what about Taken 2? Oh, that was crap. Exactly the same joke again only not as funny and easily as bad as EMPIRE said the first one was. Like The Hangover 2 with a bodycount.
Mercilessly taking the piss out of paranoid Americans for being scared of their own shadows and they lap it up. Now that’s funny. Or it used to be. There was always something a bit Truman Show about Taken I thought. Like it was subsidised by the American tourist industry or something in an effort to prevent Americans ever holidaying abroad again. Not that they do.
They’re having a go at the Armenians now! Led by dodgy foreign rentavillain, Rade Sherbedgia. Even bad guys are somebody’s sons I suppose. About the only interesting wrinkle in this turgid atrocity exhibition. Even if Austin Powers got there first years ago. If this is the start of a trend though, Bond is in serious trouble!
(Loved the fat Steven Moffat lookalike in the tracksuit, though. I know a few Doctor Who “fans” who would probably love to see him getting duffed up by Liam Neeson.)
And still nothing gets in Big Liam’s way. And I mean nothing. No obstacles or hurdles of any kind. The bad guys don’t exactly make it hard for him, do they? They don’t search him properly. The leave him unguarded. They don’t even lock doors behind them. I know they’re foreigners, but still… What a bunch of fuckwits. The writers, I mean.
But these dodgy foreigners aren’t half as dodgy as our supposed hero. Brian (Brian!?!) is a creepy, obsessive, controlling, paranoid, assh*le, stalker, control freak. Let me put it this way – how would you feel if Brian Mills was your old man? Planting bugs on you and frisking every suitor who walked through the front door? Nightmare dad. I’m talking Fred West here. Know wot I mean? * cough * Incest! I’m not joking. This aspect of these films genuinely makes my skin crawl the same way all those old clips of Jim’ll Fix It on the news make my skin crawl
If Brian’s daughter ever does get hitched (assuming he lets her out of his sight long enough or the groom doesn’t meet with an unfortunate accident on the way to the church) the wedding should be an absolute belter. Literally.
(Brian’s not so obsessive when it comes to locking his motor though, I see. Funny that.)
Paranoid, xenophobic, incestuous bollocks. And it’s not funny any more. Well, apart from the bit where Brian encourages his daughter to “Be casual, blend in.” Er, by hoiking grenades around in the middle of a bustling city. Even by American standards that’s not exactly what you’d call inconspicuous.
Utterly irredeemable, braindead shite, and sanitised utterly irredeemable, braindead shite at that. Having toned down the old-school, bone-crunching violence in order to appease the censors and appeal to the more lucrative 12A/PG13 audience, Taken 2 even lacks the first film’s USP which was its dubious attraction, I thought.
But worst of all, it’s boring. Just a dour, dispiriting runaround. Repetitive, suspense-free action, stunts and car chases. And dumb as a bag of hammers. How did Big Liam get out of that car without anyone seeing him? Teleportation? Not even Qui-Gonn could do that! Doesn’t he ever run out of bullets? Don’t Turkish cops respond to automatic gunfire? How many innocent people did Brian’s daughter kill with those grenades do you suppose? How did his pointedly unqualified daughter do all that without stalling the car once? Is it really that easy to drive straight into a US embassy? In a Muslim country? I thought they all had great big concrete barriers erected in front of them these days for obvious reasons. Mainly to stop people just driving car bombs into them.
Does anyone actually enjoy this stuff? What am I saying? It’ll probably make a fortune. So roll on Taken 3 where hopefully Big Liam will look for, find and kill the cheese-eating surrender monkeys responsible for this load of Istanbul. Which is in Turkey, appropriately enough. Director Olivier Megaton (seriously?) is well named cos this bomb is a real stinker. I don’t know. Sometimes these reviews just write themselves.
“I am tired of it all.” He’s tired? Mind you, I’m not entirely convinced Big Liam was acting when he said this. Stupid, lazy, by-the-numbers filmmaking of the worst kind which treats its (undemanding) audience with utter contempt. Despicable. On every conceivable level.
Taken 2 is nothing we haven’t seen a hundred times before and done better. It’s bad enough this was just another crude Bourne rip-off but it pilfers from the sublime Drive soundtrack as well. Twice. Even the turgid Bourne Legacy was better than this – The Boring White Supremacy.