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  • Ankur Pathak

    Ankur Pathak (50 DM Points)

    Desimartini | Updated - February 21, 2014 11:41 PM IST
    3.4DM (466 ratings)

    Verdict - Taken 2 follows more or less the same trajectory, but this time it is a lot more dumb.

    Taken 2Watch trailerRelease date : October 12, 2012

    It begins with a mass cremation of bodies courtesy Liam Neesam's unaccountable killings from the previous film where his daughter was picked by a bunch of sinister Albanian's and almost forced into a sleazy prostitution racket. The creepy kingpin's son was shot by the devastatingly powerful father and has now vowed to take revenge. Which is entirely irrelevant on moralistic grounds, but hey, this is a mystery thriller, borderline-Bourne, nobody questions Neesam either when he maniacally goes on a masturbatory killing spree.

    Morals are, but not overpowering issues in the otherwise sleekly-filmed Taken 2. It is more of uninspiring dialogue and too much importance to the wafer-thin plot which is the central bother. A crazy outlaw avenging the death of his son' That's almost the entire story. The stupendous success in the States is explained by the gorgeously filmed thrills that heftily compensate for a lack-luster story, subduing the rather glaring plot-holes. Besides, tagging it as a sequel is invalid as the film revolves around the same trajectory as Taken did.

    I won't crib further so ;et us just accept the story line - Bryan Mills (Liam Neesam)invites ex-wife and daughter to Istanbul to chill which doesn't turn out to be such a fabulous holiday after all. The couple is quickly captured by deadly Albanians' even as the daughter believes them to be on a harmless date. Later, our otherwise unfathomable hero is knotted in a bunker and wife hanged upside down with her throat mildly slashed; mild enough to kill her in half an hour, we are told.

    The dialogue here is very expository and sometimes laughable. The infrastructure Neesam instills to get the family out of the situation (which almost feels like a voluntary crisis) seems pretentiously intelligent and one particular trick is over-indulgently distasteful.

    It involves him giving directions to his daughter so she can reach him and pass a weapon. He does this by asking her to blow grenades at random places, so he can place her by the sound of the ensuing explosions. WHAT'

    A critical element to note here is the level of American supremacy it unapologetically hints at. It is like Neesam could have very well told her daughter, “Baby, just blow some mean bombs and have fun. We are in Istanbul. Nobody keeps a track of explosions here.” In times when American ground troupes and air forces are very much present in Iraq and Afghanistan and whimsically indulge in carpet bombings in neighboring Pakistan, this doesn't seem like a scene as detached from reality as it really must. And especially in the context that is used, it looks a tad offensive.

    Daughter outruns terrorists with remarkable ease and when at a peculiarly vulnerable point, Daddy is omnipresent to play shield. You know, despite the crazy lunatics who are the only surviving populace in Turkey, Papa will pack a punch and the entire family will come out alive and coolly have lunch in a coast-side restaurant in San Francisco. What more, even crack a one-liner about Papa's hot-headed and over-protective tendencies. (“I really like him Dad, please don't shoot him,” his daughter tells him re-introducing the new boyfriend)

    The film is technically very pretty. The camerawork is neatly done, capturing the gritty-glorious action in panoramic crispness. It is cleverly edited with plenty of jump cuts ensuring that monotony never sets in. Frequently locking on mosques and the Turkish flags, the background score sounds creepily muddled to evoke the sound of Muslim prayers; again making for a not very appreciable contrast.

    It could be argued that it's been done to set the right ambiance keeping in mind the geographical location; but it does more harm than good.

    The film sails around in a linear narrative with the action scenes unfolding gorgeously. One particular sequence involves the daughter taking over the wheel, while Leesam plays sidekick shooter even as they riskily cover the convoluted curves of Istanbul, resulting in a heart-thumping adrenaline ride of the breath-taking variety. (And all this without her having passed the driver's test !)

    So if analyzed as a mere actioner without any kind of geopolitical motivations, Taken 2 is fairly thrilling, engagingly entertaining even. But the problem is that its unintended political stance is too arrogantly visible; the worldview it presents quite obnoxious, its closure too sanguine and ultimately its hero - as nonchalant he's made out to be (cold, calculating, sympathetic but with measures) - his mechanisms of defense cannot be justifiably approved of.

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