Taken 2

The first Taken movie was a brisk and entertaining affair, where the good guys were clearly in peril and the bad guys were shadowy and scary and ruthless. I liked the fact that there were no dumb-ass Arnie wisecracks, I loved the fact that there was no snappy black dude side-kick for occasional levity and token diversity. And in some ways, Taken 2 commits to somewhat the same formula. Which is strange then, that it falls so completely flat. There’s no real tension at all; you know that Liam’s going to donder the kak out of the lesser-bodied Albanians, Fanke Janssen will worry a lot, and Maggie Grace will get what she wants at the end. I won’t even go into the holes in the plot, which are large enough for learner driver Kim to handbrake turn through. (You try speeding up to a US embassy checkpoint in an unmarked car….) The problem is, this time round, you just don’t care.

Taken 2 filmed in Istanbul, and I thought it looked quite good on film. The Turkish media – and my Turkish friends – were less than delighted though with the outdated representation of their city: The taxis and police cars in the movie are antiques from the 1970s, and all the women who appear on screen during the Istanbul scenes are covered and veiled. “It’s makes us look like Damascus,” spat one chum. I suppose that’s why you need a film commission, to manage this kind of reputational stuff. At least a little better….