Thursday, 18 October 2012

Taken 2 Commentary

The first Taken was a great movie.  It was fantastically written, shot and acted.  It kept you on the edge of your seat for the whole time with a terrific pace and tension.  Taken 2 is a prime example of going to the well once too often.  They tried to do the same thing and it fell completely flat.  It has the same great shooting and acting.  But the writing is where it suffers the most.  From start to finish, this story is full of holes and problems.  It is odd though.  I would have thought it could have been really good.  After all, in most movies where someone is avenging a death, it's the good guy going after the bad guys.  In this one, it's a very bad man avenging his very bad son who died at the hands of the good guy.  They could have taken that morality angle a little further.  Rather, they addressed it briefly and moved on trying to focus on the thriller aspect.  Normally, I would applaud this.  But I thought it was too good an angle to dismiss and, if they had executed the thriller aspect better, I could have looked past it.

But the thriller was executed very poorly.  There are just too many holes and conveniences to make it a realistic story that I can get lost in.  the first Taken had that element.  It always seemed plausible and portrayed a very nasty situation so vividly that it was almost disturbing (and, if I had daughters, I probably would have been traumatized by watching it).  Taken 2 loses all of that element of the movie. Sure, the action (what little there is - it takes a half hour for anything to happen) and fights (fist and gun) are pretty decent but it is overshadowed by things like Kim conveniently finding a whole ensemble of clothes that fit her perfectly in a maid's locker.  Or Bryan being able to figure out where he is and where to go later (two different places) using the same information he took in while blindfolded.  He also has a very intimate knowledge of Istanbul's slummy areas and then has to recall the sounds he heard in the van?  That whole aspect is just too confusing to really explain without a three pint conversation.  But the worst hole is just so preposterous; how does a person who has failed a driver's test three times suddenly become able to execute advanced driving maneuvers in a stick shift in unfamiliar, narrow and crowded streets?

It really was a waste of good acting performances and decent directing.  There's just too many of those holes combined with an uninspired and predictable story that it really failed as a sequel.  They should have just left well enough alone with the first one.  Don't see it.  Watch the first one again and get chills down your spine.

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