Taken 2 *

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“Taken 2” is one of the worst kinds of sequels. Much like “The Hangover II”, it takes everything that worked in the original movie and does it again, this time in insultingly stupid ways. The original “Taken” had Liam Neeson playing a secret agent who flew around the world to find his daughter who had been kidnapped by sex traffickers. This time it is him and his ex wife who are taken while his daughter aids in their escape.

Now it is not enough that the movie basically re-uses the plot of the original film but it also does it at a highly incompetent me level. The villains this time around are some of the dumbest villains I have seen in a long time. They should know that you can never leave Liam Neeson alone for more than five minutes tied up because when you return, he will be waiting to pounce on you.

Now like I said earlier, Neeson’s daughter gets away but refuses to leave her family behind. Neeson helps guide her to his location by giving her directions over the phone and asking her to toss grenades through out the city so that he can judge how far away she is by the sounds. Seems dangerous for the unsuspecting citizens of Istanbul. Amazingly this does not attract the attention of the police!

When they get free they are chased through the streets in a frantic car chase that ends with Neeson and his daughter crashing a cab in to the American embassy. Some how I don’t believe that they would actually be able to penetrate the gates and get that deep alive. After leaving his daughter safely at the embassy, Neeson then ventures back in to the city to find his wife.

His quest simply shows how super intelligent he is and how absurdly stupid the bad guys are. He makes his way back to their hide out, which he was brought to before with a hood on his head, by listening for distinct sounds and recalling the time it took between each turn. When he gets there, amazingly his wife is just about to be tortured after her kidnapper seemingly took hours to cut the buttons off her sweater.

I laughed rather loudly at the moment when he approaches the lookout and kills him. I laughed because the idiot they chose to watch over their hide out has been put in charge of monitoring one simple gate at the end of a stone alley. When Neeson approaches, this moron is looking in the wrong direction. He even ignores the sounds of the gate opening and keeps looking for the entire time it takes for Neeson to sneak up on him. This guy has one job and he almost refuses to do it so that the plot can just roll on.

The first “Taken” was an entertaining thriller. “Taken 2” seems bent on insulting everyone that made that first movie a hit by assuming we can accept scene after scene of pure stupidity. A lot of sequels are good, others not so much, but rarely are they this lame. Its as if the producers simpy decided to intentionally exploit the good will built up by the first movie for more money.

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