Entertainment Movies
Entertainment Entertainment Movies

'Taken 2' review: The year's funniest thriller

* (out of four)

In “Taken,” ex-spy Bryan (Liam Neeson) made single-handedly killing the Albanians who kidnapped his daughter Kim (Maggie Grace) look easy. That should've been a clue to leave this one-man wrecking crew alone. No, Murad (Rade Serbedzija) doesn't care that his son was a kidnapper who ruined the lives of innocent young women. He demands revenge on the boy's killer, launching a roughly 30-man operation to capture Bryan, his ex-wife, Lenore (Famke Janssen), and Kim during their trip to Istanbul.

In some of many unintentionally hilarious moments in this infinitely stupid sequel, Murad spends his downtime doing absolutely nothing. Really. When he receives calls about the progress of the mission, he's just sitting in a chair in an empty room, as if writers Luc Besson and Robert Mark Kamen preferred to write as little as possible.

They never should have started. That would have spared us from a henchman needlessly exclaiming to his colleague, “I shot some guy,” after shooting some guy, or Bryan's quick series of commands to Lenore and Kim that no non-spy could ever remember and execute in a high-pressure setting. That includes ordering Kim to throw grenades in random places to help him gauge necessary locations, apparently because his method of memorizing sounds like boats and birds while hooded in a van clearly didn't pay off. When Kim asks where he is, Bryan doesn't say, “Three blocks away from birds.”

The first “Taken” worked as a B-movie about a dad who would do anything for his daughter—which is easier when you have the ass-kicking skills of 100 people. In “Taken 2” director Oliver Megaton (“Colombiana”) substitutes disposable action and characters that haven't learned anything from their past for the dangers of naive travel. (For some reason, we're also supposed to care if Kim passes her driver's test.) Kim misses dad's frantic calls because she's Skyping with her boyfriend (Luke Grimes of “Brothers and Sisters”). “Be casual, blend in,” Bryan orders Kim, who then looks totally casual as an American girl in a bikini top frantically running barefoot around an Istanbul hotel.

Dad promises her he'll stop these faceless baddies from bothering their family again. As if she forgot about all the guys her old man just shot, Kim asks, “What are you going to do?” This should be the last time we see her learn the answer.
 

Watch Matt on “You & Me This Morning,” Friday at 6:55 a.m. on WCIU, the U

mpais@tribune.com

 

Want more? Discuss this article and others on RedEye's Facebook page.

 

Copyright © 2015, RedEye
Related Content
  • Aldermen looking to stop stores from getting around plastic bag ban

    Aldermen looking to stop stores from getting around plastic bag ban

    Chicago's ban on plastic bags starts to take effect at many big stores Saturday, but an alderman who helped craft the law already is talking about changing it in order to thwart a few large retail chains that he says are trying to skirt the new rules.

  • State police: Man shot while riding in van on Eisenhower

    State police: Man shot while riding in van on Eisenhower

    A man was shot multiple times while traveling in a minivan on the inbound Eisenhower Expressway on Friday morning, authorities said.

  • Lollapalooza liquor gardening: fact or fiction?

    Lollapalooza liquor gardening: fact or fiction?

    It may sound like an urban legend: Music festival-goers bury bottles of booze in Chicago parks, plot a GPS location for the goods and uncover them days later when the festival comes alive.

  • Chicago plans to cut O'Hare noise by rotating runways at night

    Chicago plans to cut O'Hare noise by rotating runways at night

    The Emanuel administration on Friday will propose an experiment at O'Hare International Airport to rotate the runways used late at night, possibly on a weekly basis, to spread out jet noise, the city's aviation chief told the Chicago Tribune.

  • Almost 6 acres of land added near Fullerton Avenue Beach

    Almost 6 acres of land added near Fullerton Avenue Beach

    Along Chicago's lakefront at Fullerton Avenue Beach, cranes rolled along a causeway that only a few months ago was part of the lake itself. Every day this summer, roughly 40 construction workers are filling in Lake Michigan with dredged material and gravel, which will eventually add up to 5.8 acres...

  • Doughnut panic

    Doughnut panic

    I'm not ashamed to admit that for the past several years, I have mapped my walk to work around which doughnut shop I'd like an excuse to stop at on the way. There's nothing like the thought of a crunchy, craggy old fashioned doughnut or the sweet, yeasty chew of a classic glazed doughnut to help...

Comments
Loading
69°