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Blu-ray Reviews

Taken 2 Blu-ray Review

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#1 of 5 OFFLINE   Matt Hough

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Posted January 15 2013 - 09:54 AM

[color= black;][font=" times new roman;"]When Taken appeared on the scene three years ago, it was an adrenaline rush like none other. With no worries about intricate backstories or character development, it was pure, nonstop action once its search-and-rescue plot got going. Olivier Megaton’s Taken 2 follows basically the same model, but the freshness is gone, and while the action scenes still have a kinetic lift to them, there are so many implausible facets to the story that it’s simply not nearly as much fun as its predecessor.[/color][/font]

Posted Image

[color= black;][font=" times new roman;"]Taken 2 (Blu-ray Combo Pack)[/color][/font]
[color= black;][font=" times new roman;"]Directed by Olivier Megaton

Studio: 20th Century Fox
Year: 2012
Aspect Ratio: 2.39:1 1080p AVC codec
Running Time: 92/98 minutes
Rating: PG-13/NR
Audio: DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 English; Dolby Digital 5.1 French, Spanish
Subtitles:  SDH, Spanish[/color][/font]

[color= black;][font=" times new roman;"]Region:[/color][/font][color= black;][font=" times new roman;"] A
MSRP: $ 39.99[/color][/font]

[color= black;][font=" times new roman;"]Release Date: January 15, 2013[/color][/font]

[font=" times new roman;"]Review Date: January 15, 2013[/font]

[font=" times new roman;"]The Film[/font]

[font=" times new roman;"]3/5[/font]

[font=" times new roman;"]At the funerals for his son and other operatives who work for him, Albanian crime boss Murad Krasniqi (Rade Sherbedgia) vows revenge on the man who wiped out so many friends and relatives in finding his kidnapped daughter and rescuing her, ex-CIA operative Bryan Mills (Liam Neeson). While working a high end security job in Istanbul, Mills and his ex-wife Lenore (Famke Janssen) are stalked and taken prisoner while the thugs go looking for teenaged daughter Kim (Maggie Grace). Taking instructions from her father via a compact cell phone, Kim manages to hide from the kidnappers and then elude them, carrying out her father’s exact instructions so he can get free and hopefully save Lenore who’s losing blood and has only thirty minutes to live. Knowing the men won’t let up until they’re all wiped out, Bryan has a horrific few hours ahead of him.[/font]

[font=" times new roman;"]As before, the script by Luc Besson and Robert Mark Kamen doesn’t delve much into character development. Kim’s still keeping secrets (a new boy friend played by Luke Grimes) from her overprotective dad, and Lenore continues to be the less assertive parent. The kidnapping doesn’t happen until half an hour into the movie with the build-up to it quite slow and methodically bland while suspense and forward momentum rather stops and starts this time out compared to the last film (which was directed by Pierre Morel). Olivier Megaton has directed a whale of a good chase sequence, and Bryan’s fight scenes are always fascinating exhibitions even though the editing is so fiercely quick that one must either play them in slow motion or rewatch them several times to get the full effect of the expert choreography. (The climactic fight which pits Bryan against a man much shorter but just as skilled as he is by far the film’s best such moment.) As for the rest of the action, the murder methodology this time out doesn’t seem as varied and, dare one say it, entertaining; everything seems more pedestrian and uncreative. Additionally, Kim as Bryan’s ace in the hole seems faintly ludicrous throughout with her suddenly gaining expertise in stealing clothes, reading maps, and tossing grenades rather expertly (for someone who wasn’t even aware that Turkey lies in both Europe and Asia, her being able to look out a window and know which direction is east is very commendable). [/font]

[font=" times new roman;"]Liam Neeson is just as commanding and entertaining as before with his single-minded objective of protecting his family and of setting things right when things go wrong. As she was three years ago, Maggie Grace is still too old to be playing a giddy teenager though she handles her moments of expressing fear and of carrying out her father’s bidding with pluck. Famke Janssen’s role is certainly more central to the action here than it was in the first film, but as she’s injured fairly early, she has little to do but remain the person in need of saving this time. Rade Sherbedgia as the avenging father who doesn’t care that his son was a criminal or that Mills was only protecting his daughter plays his one dimensional role rather matter of factly thus allowing the audience to react gleefully late in the movie as he runs for his life from Mills knowing he’s been careless enough to let such a master operative escape even with dozens of guards surrounding him.[/font]

[font=" times new roman;"]Video Quality[/font]

[font=" times new roman;"]4.5/5[/font]

[font=" times new roman;"]The film’s theatrical aspect ratio of 2.39:1 is faithfully reproduced in this 1080p transfer using the AVC codec. The image is very sharp throughout, and contrast is dialed up a bit while color saturation levels are toned down a tad to intensify the action occurring in a foreign locale. Flesh tones are perhaps a bit pale as a result, but details in hair, facial features, and clothes are good compensations. Black levels are fine. There is a small amount of moiré to be seen and one curious instance of banding late in the film. The film has been divided into 24 chapters in both the theatrical and unrated versions.[/font]

[font=" times new roman;"]Audio Quality[/font]

[font=" times new roman;"]5/5[/font]

[font=" times new roman;"]The DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 sound mix makes considerable impact throughout really revving up its power once the kidnapping and escape work begins. By the time that amazing chase sequence unfolds, the surround soundfield is alive with split effects panning across and through the soundstage. Nathaniel Mechaly’s incessant, driving music ratchets up the tension constantly as it’s pumped through the fronts and rears to great effect. Dialogue has been expertly recorded and appears in the center channel.[/font]

[font=" times new roman;"]Special Features[/font]

[font=" times new roman;"]3/5[/font]

[font=" times new roman;"]Unless otherwise noted, the bonus material is presented in 1080p.[/font]

[font=" times new roman;"]The viewer is offered the choice of the PG-13 rated theatrical cut or the six minutes-longer unrated edition. For the purposes of this review, I viewed the unrated cut.[/font]

[font=" times new roman;"]There are five deleted scenes which can be viewed individually or in one 7-minute grouping.[/font]

[font=" times new roman;"]The alternate ending which takes Lenore out of danger in the film’s final third and makes Bryan’s final assault one of vengeance rather than salvation runs 25 minutes.[/font]

[font=" times new roman;"]Black Ops Field Manual  is a feature repeated from the first film. If turned on, it keeps track of the number of people killed and wounded and the amount of miles traveled during the movie. It also allows pop up facts about the characters and various trivia pop-ups to continually appear.[/font]

[font=" times new roman;"]“Sam’s Tools of the Trade” is an interactive look at the intriguing metal suitcase which Bryan takes on his watchdog assignments. The viewer can move the pointer to each individual object for a video description or play all of the factoids in a 3 ½-minute vignette.[/font]

[font=" times new roman;"]“The Fox Movie Channel Presents In Character with Liam Neeson” is a 5-minute interview with the Fox Movie Channel by the film's star about his character and the enjoyment he gets playing these kinds of roles in action films. It’s in 480i.[/font]

[font=" times new roman;"]The theatrical trailer runs 2 ½ minutes.[/font]

[font=" times new roman;"]The second disc in the set is the combination DVD/digital copy of the movie. These feature only the theatrical version of the film.[/font]

[font=" times new roman;"]The disc contains promo trailers for Broken City, Fox 3D films, Chasing Mavericks, The Following, the Bond 50 box set, Skyfall, Red Dawn, and The Lawless, among others.[/font]

[font=" times new roman;"]The disc is BD-Live ready, but the website didn't offer any material not on the Blu-ray disc.[/font]

[font=" times new roman;"]In Conclusion[/font]

[font=" times new roman;"]3/5 (not an average)[/font]

[font=" times new roman;"]Taken 2 offers some of the same thrills and excitement as the first film but without the freshness and creativity that the first one delivered. Fans of the genre will want to at least rent the film, and the bonuses are also interesting enough to garner a look. [/font]

[font=" times new roman;"]Matt Hough[/font]

[font=" times new roman;"]Charlotte, NC[/font]

#2 of 5 OFFLINE   Steve Tannehill

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Posted January 15 2013 - 10:12 AM

I only saw this movie theatrically because it was the second to be released in Dolby Atmos. I noticed overhead sound effects once in the movie. As for the movie itself, your review is spot-on.

#3 of 5 OFFLINE   Russell G

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Posted January 15 2013 - 10:39 AM

I find you're kind in your review. This movie was terrible. The story was dumb, Neeson was laughable, the whole thing felt like a goof on the original. All the daddy responsibility stuff was ham fisted and awful... oof. It hurts thinking about this movie!

#4 of 5 OFFLINE   Joseph J.D

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Posted January 16 2013 - 12:01 AM

I'm completely the opposite. I loved this film in the theatres. Sure, it was not as good as the original....but then, how many sequels are? Non-stop action throughout and Liam Neeson was excellent as always in it. I came away from it quite pleased with the film and gladly picked up this disc.:tu:
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#5 of 5 OFFLINE   J Whip

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Posted January 16 2013 - 03:51 AM

I agree with the review almost entirely although I would say it should be more like a 2 or 2.5 as a film not 3. The film has a superb audio presentation, simply superb. The video, other than the dumb teal tint, is very good although a bit soft in spots. The editing is terrible, with a ton of mismatched sequences. I hate the jarring edits as well. Just too many of them. I get why the did it, to tighten up some of the fight sequences and hide the mismatched edits, especially in the car chases. What really irked me most about the film is the fact that they almost didn't even use the city pf Istanbul in the film. I love the city and it could be a great locale for a film like this. Other than the trip over the bridge, they used about a 2 block radius of the city for the film. It could have been shot anywhere with B roll of Istanbul spliced in the way the film was put together. Very good audio and video but a dumb almost thoughtless fim. BTW, there is no US Embassy in Istanbul. It is a consulate as Ankara not Istanbul is the capital of Turkey. GIven its role in the film, you'd think they could have gotten that right.

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