Taken 2 [Blu-Ray] Olivier Megaton

Taken 2 [Blu-Ray]Olivier Megaton
There are early warning signs in Taken 2 that we are in for an opportunistic and underdeveloped retreading of the original's formula for success. For starters, we open with our bad guys (led by Rade Sherbedjia) hatching a simplistic plot based solely on revenge for the many men killed by retired CIA operative Bryan Mills (Liam Neeson) last time around during his hunt to rescue daughter Kim (Maggie Grace) from a prostitution ring. From there, we are reintroduced to the meticulous nature of Mills and his "very particular set of skills," only the novelty and charm of Neeson's hyper-vigilantism have been replaced by a self-awareness that practically winks at the camera through feats of outlandish ingenuity that would strain credulity even for MacGyver (or MacGruber, for that matter). The first act works noticeably hard to rekindle the romance between Mills and ex-wife Lenore (Famke Janssen), in an effort to have audiences invested in the relationship when they're kidnapped together while on a trip in Istanbul. The inventive twist for the sequel is that Kim avoids captivity and is able to assist in the rescue of her parents, aided by Mills's ability to make phone calls to her with startlingly little resistance from his captors. Even the action scenes, featuring chases through busy city streets and Mills's disposal of countless henchmen via gunplay and hand-to-hand combat, are inelegantly staged, with jittery, hand-held camerawork and quick cuts rendering the events muddled and disorienting. What we are left with are simple pleasures like hearing Neeson's husky purr repeatedly give earnest and sometimes very complex instructions to his wife and daughter in scenes that grow less thrilling each time. And as the death toll rises, we can only imagine the many relatives that will seek vengeance against Mills in the inevitable completion of the requisite trilogy. Aside from a few mercifully deleted scenes that would have unnecessarily added to the running time, the bonus material includes an alternate ending that, while featuring an entirely different structure to the climax, suggests a much more vindictive streak to Mills's motivations. Additionally, there is a version of the film that can be viewed with a rather disappointing pop-up Black Ops training manual that intermittently displays facts about things like handling weapons, as well as keeping a running tally on the number of people both killed and injured by Mills in the completion of his mission. (Fox)