Liam Neeson is back for another bout with the Albanian’s, but this time he’s ready… kind of. “Taken 2” picks up directly after the events of “Taken”. Liam Neeson’s daughter is safely living back home worrying about failing her next drivers test, while Neeson himself is worried about her latest boyfriend. The ex-wife is now an ex-ex-wife, as her and her current husband have split up, leaving her to cry on Liam’s shoulder once again. Upon learning the news that his ex-wife has split from her current husband, Neeson does what any normal ex-husband would do… invites her on a romantic weekend getaway to Istanbul. Meanwhile, the father of one of the Albanian’s that Neeson killed on his last vacation vows revenge…. Really? Your son was in the sex trafficking business and got killed because he kidnapped the wrong girl, and you’re going to defend his “honor” by hunting down the guy who killed him? And then you’re going to use the logic that because Neeson took something you loved from you, you’re going to take something he loves…. You already took his daughter which is why he sought out revenge in the first place… Your son is an idiot and you should just quit defending him.

So that’s the basic plot of the movie. Liam Neeson heads out to Istanbul for a freelance security job. Once the job is finished, his family meets him out there to relax and hang out for the next couple of days. The Albanian mafia boss sends his goons to kidnap all three of them with the intentions of bringing them back to Albania to murder in front of the families of those that Neeson murdered in the previous movie. I won’t give too much away, but some more people get “taken” and Neeson uses his special skills to track down all those responsible.

The movie is enjoyable and fun to watch, but not nearly as good as the first one. I think that goes without saying for most sequels anyways. Obviously there are some exceptions to the rules (Empire Strikes Back), but for the most part sequels fall short of their predecessors. The story itself isn’t as captivating as the first one mainly because it’s now a revenge flick instead of a man looking to find and rescue his daughter; you don’t have that same tension and emotion that you did in the first one. The other complaint I have is that Liam Neeson is getting old… it’s not a bad thing, everyone gets old, but it’s starting to show in some of the hand to hand fight scenes. It almost seems as if his moves are in slow motion while everyone else is moving super fast, yet nobody can seem to hit him. It’s especially prevalent in the early fight scene in the alley between Neeson and like 3-4 other dudes. It doesn’t take a way from too much of the flick, but it’s definitely noticeable.

Aside from the movie being just “ok”, the audio and video on the blu-ray look and sound amazing. The video is clean and crisp with very minimal signs of any sort of artifacts at all. The only thing I noticed were some weird things happening in some of the dark scenes, but it could have just been my eyes. Going along with that, the audio track is clear as day. The dialogue can all be heard clearly, the explosions sound amazing and the car chases are intense. If they are going to get something right when it comes to these transfers, I’m glad they got the a/v down.

The blu-ray/dvd combo pack contains both the unrated and the theatrical cut of the flick as well as a digital copy. The special features are pretty solid on this blu-ray disc. We have the standard deleted scenes and trailer, but when we’re also given a 25 minute long alternate ending which explains a little bit more of the motivations during the final scenes. The “Black Ops Field Manual” gives you pop ups during the movie displaying things like maps, distance traveled and kill counts. “Sam’s Tools of the Trade” let you hear all about the different weapons that Liam Neeson’s character uses during the movie which was kind of cool. And to wrap things up we have a quick 5 minute clip of Neeson talking about his character in both “Taken” films.

So while the movie isn’t the greatest action flick I’ve ever seen, and is definitely not as good as the original, I still enjoyed it to the point where I was entertained throughout the entire thing. I do hope that this is the end of the story and everyone can now live their lives in peace without having to worry about crazy Albanians kidnapping their family members.

taken 2 blu-ray review

 

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