In the Promised Land of the Brave, San Diego & Taken 2

So I hit the US of A about last week and have been loving this country ever since. Travelled to San Diego over the weekend, met up my oldest college friends and it was a hoot. Lucky that am in California and not anywhere else as the cold wave continues across the rest of the country but here, in South California, it is blessed weather. 

Watched like 4 different movies - The Oscar winning Argo, the super successful adorable wimpy kid brought to screen – Dog Days : Diary of a Wimpy Kid, a Chinese martial arts meets steampunk action extravaganza called Tai-Chi Zero and fourth, counting today’s lame and insipid sequel to the smash hit Taken franchise, Taken 2.

Going to rant about Taken 2 today since I was so let down. 

To say the least, it was such a mind fuck. It is in no way comparable to the bone-crunching in-your-face- unapologetic action jet-thriller that the first movie was – where you held your breath and cheered in loud gusty whoops as you watched Liam Neeson take on the baddies and stomp them to bloody pulp without mercy. The formula remains the same. Action has been downgraded and watered down to like one tenth of the last outing, the villain, even though shows a lot of menacing promise in the beginning falls way short of any expectation and the explosive action-laced climax you been waiting for, never really arrives. The movie is like watching a rerun of an old action drama that you watch to kill time without any real interest. Liam Neeson tries to breathe some life into this sagging almost unbearable movie. He too gives up sometime into the movie though. Like he says at the end of the movie, “I’m so tired of all this” – Exactly what I felt. He mumbles through his lines like a patient stuck full of sedatives, sleep walks through action sequences, lazily blocking chops and hardly moving around – it was like watching an uninspired dance sequence in slow motion. The first half of the movie where the premise is set up introduces us to the antagonist, the father of the Albanian gangsters who got killed by Brian (Liam’s character) – a mean injured father who promises menace and death to the man who killed his sons and relatives – and sadly I got my hopes up.
We cut back to Brian – a doting over protective father wasting his time tailing his cute-as-a-button daughter Maggie Grace ( who by the way, does show some acting genes!) and taking a vacation in Istanbul. The pace picks up as the antagonist this time target both the mother and father – holding the mother as captive to lure Brian – most of the action is set in rustic surroundings of Istanbul, the muezzin calls and the dirty side streets forming perfect backdrop to the car chases and the stoic silent hand to hand brutal action set pieces.  Brian sets out to free his ex-wife, this time with a little help from his daughter, Maggie Grace pitching in on some harrowing action scenes on the rooftops of Turkey. 

All this cannot sadly save a movie low on plot and imagination and disappointingly low on the action thrills, nothing that can shock you and make you sit up like you did with the original Taken. The dialogs were such a horror – take this for example, when his daughter in tears asks about her mother and what he is going to do about it, Liam Neeson effortlessly hams, “What I do best.” I felt like taking a revolver to my head at that point, but sickening and uninspiring as it was, I watched the rest of it, hoping for redemption in a climax. It never came. 

So all in all, it was one of the biggest duds I watched in recent times, hope they kill this franchise unless they can think of some more original believable plot lines and infuse back the life that was missing after part one.


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