Saturday, December 27, 2014

A Ghoul Versus Liam Neeson's Taken 2 (Part 2)

Click here for Part 2!

Old Man visits Bryan in his cell, revealing Marko was his son and that he's taking him to Albania to pay for his crimes against his family. He has Lenore brought in, cutting the side of her throat open and hanging her upside down for her to bleed out. He plans to put Kim in the worst brothel they can find, even worse than that weird construction site one in the first film. Damn, THAT'S a threat! Old Man gets call from the other thugs saying that they've lost Kim, so he leaves to deal with this himself. You want something done right... Bryan is able to get free and cut Lenore down, but does nothing for the gaping would on neck. Ahh, I am sure she's FINE.
He calls Kim again, having her use grenades as the most dangerous homing signals of all time. She arrives at the building he's in, dropping the gun she took down into a vent. Wait, that wasn't for her self defense? Why didn't Bryan have her take a gun too? He is kind of all over field with this whole “protecting his daughter from harm” thing.  The thugs spot Kim and begin to chase her across the closely knit rooftops of Istanbul. Bryan shoots his way out of building, arriving in time to save Kim. I would have really liked to see Kim deal with this herself to really cement how much stronger she has become. Oh well. Bryan and Kim steal a taxi cab and go back to the building to get Lenore, who is being loaded into a van by the thugs.

Bryan tries to shoot out the tires but unfortunately, for the first time in the entire series, he MISSES and the van gets away.  But in case you are worried he's beginning to lose it, the next scene confirms all is well. Crooked police working for Old Man arrive outside the building while Kim hides nearby in the stolen taxi. Bryan exits the building and one of the cops points a gun at him, but gets shot dead for his trouble. Bryan had absolutely no way to know this cop was in cahoots with Old Man, all he would have seen is a cop (rightfully) pointing a gun at an armed man so he killed him. That's our loveable little sociopath!

Bryan gets in taxi with Kim driving, a chase sequencing breaking out with the thugs and the police following them. What follows is GLORIOUS sequence someone probably got paid millions to write. You ready for the Taken 2 Drinking Game? Every time someone says “move, come on, shit, or keep going” take a drink.

“You killed him.”
“I had no choice. Now move.”
“Where's Mom?”
“She's fine, she's not far.”
“Where is she?”
“Come on Kim, move!”
“I don't want to do this.”
“Keep going, Kim.”
“Where are we going?”
“Go straight. We have to go to the Embassy.”
“I'm not sure I can.”
“Do you know how to shoot?”
“Then drive.”
“Shit, cops!”
“Dad I have to stop.”
“No I just shot one of them, now go.”
“Come on go!”
“Back back back!”
“Come on, move!”
“Come on, Kim.”
“Go go!”
“Come on, keep going!”
“Keep going.”
“Oh no!”
“Shit. Stay low, keep going!”
“Come on, faster!”
“I can't.”
“You can do it!”
“I can't.”
“Come on, move! Move.”
“Keep going!”
“Oh shit.”
“Come on Kim, move!”
“Go go!”
“I'm trying.”
“Come on keep going!”
“Turn left.”
“Keep going, stay low.”
“Faster Kim.”
“I can't.”
“Come on faster!”
“Keep going!”
“You can make it. Do it!”

Are you still sober enough to read this? If you have to go to the hospital for alcohol poisoning, please attempt to finish this when you get back. I could really use the page views! This chase ends with the always fun “driving right past a train before it hits you while it hits the bad guy” scene. For added bonus, the bad guy blows up as the train hits it. Best. Driving. Lesson. EVER. But the fun isn't over yet as they approach Embassy for scene I am sure was written for one of those Parody Movie movies but somehow found itself in this script.

The US Embassy has a massive roadblock in front of it, with at least nine heavily armed soldiers and a mounted turret. Bryan tells Kim to drive through it because... Hmm... He thought it would be good idea to risk them getting shot up by highly trained marksmen? Soldiers open fire but Bryan and Kim make it through roadblock just fine, smashing through it into courtyard. He calls Sam to make everything okay, and I am thinking Sam must have gotten a promotion to the President of the FREAKING Unite States because only someone with that much power could smooth this over.

Bryan just tried to kill soldiers with his car for no good reason whatsoever! Why couldn't they have just casually driven up front, as they were no longer being chased and there was no longer any reason to rush? Yes, Lenore still needs saving but he couldn't have just dropped Kim off? Wasn't Lenore bleeding to death? It would have taken LESS time to do that rather than wait for Sam to make everything okay.

He tells him Kim she'll be safe here while he goes and find her mother, then he has to make sure Albanians never bother them again. Kim asks what he's going to do, and he responds “What I do best”. We cut to Bryan flying a jet plane and firebombing all of Albania. Later, Bryan retraces his steps from the path the van took when he was TAKEN. Luckily, every single sound he heard earlier is still going! I never would have anticipated that. He finds the building and shoots his way inside. Old Man and Brother are only the survivors of course, and run away with Lenore. Why are they keeping her alive at this point? This whole plan of theirs has gone completely wrong and she is just slowing them down. Bryan chases them down and kills them both rather quickly because the movie time is running short. Before he dies, Old Man says he has two more sons so we're assured another two sequels. Joy!

Three weeks later back in Los Angeles, Kim has passed her driving test. She totaled thirty cars and ran over eighteen people. Perfect score! Bryan and Lenore (I guess they're back together? The movie never follows up on this) take her to the beach for milkshakes to celebrate. Kim has also invited Jamie much to Bryan's surprise, but this time he shakes his hand is friendly towards him.

Cue the credits, set to Alex Clare's “Too Close”, which really has nothing to do with the film's themes besides the fact it sounds awesome, but whatever.

This movie was stupid and nonsensical, but in a good way believe it or not. It is pure action fantasy where any kind of laws or rules do not apply, but thanks to Liam Neeson it's actually ENJOYABLE versus the cardboard cutouts that are Jason Statham or Vin Diesel. I actually liked this WAY more than the first movie, which really bothered me with how far over the line Bryan went in his quest to rescue Kim. Bryan was a lot more down to Earth, and (mostly) behaved like a hero should. As always, Neeson was fantastic in his acting, as was everyone else in film on the good guy side. Lenore was more than one note bitch she was in first film, and Kim wasn't an overacting cartoon girl. The bad guys were all terribly one note, but this isn't the type of movie where they get any character development whatsoever so that's fine.

Once again, the story was a complete mess that largely made no sense, but was edited in such an efficient way you wouldn't notice. Except for the map and embassy scenes, if you were able to follow the logic of those you are clearly Nicolas Cage in the National Treasure films. The action was a lot more toned down from the first one, almost to the point where this was a drama with a few fights thrown in. I didn't mind this, but fans of action and especially fans of the first one will definitely feel disappointed.  Unless you're highly vested in the Taken franchise, and I do say franchise because a third movie is now due in a few months, you can easily avoid this film. Or perhaps if you're Nicolas Cage, there are likely clues hidden in Bryan's map scene that will lead you to the Fountain of Youth.