The Review at a Glance: (max score: 5 )
Audio/Video total rating:
( Max score: 100 )
Studio and Year: 20th Century Fox - 2012
MPAA Rating: PG-13/Unrated
Feature running time: 92/98 minutes
Disc Format: BD-50
Encoding: AVC (MPEG-4)
Video Aspect: 2.39:1
Audio Format(s): English DTS-HD 5.1 Master Audio, English/French/Spanish Dolby Digital 5.1
Subtitles: English SDH, Spanish
Starring: Liam Neeson, Maggie Grace, Famke Janssen, Rade Sherbedgia
Directed by: Olivier Megaton
Music by: Nathaniel Mechaly
Written by: Luc Besson & Robert Mark Kamen
Region Code: A
Blu-ray Disc release Date: January 15, 2013
Liam Neeson returns as Bryan Mills, an ex-CIA operative who finds himself "taken" hostage along with his wife. To survive, Bryan must enlist the help of an unlikely ally and use his brutally efficient skills to take out his kidnappers.
In Taken he hunted them, he found them, he killed them; now they have come back to settle the score. Taken 2 marks the return of former CIA operative Bryan Mills and his “particular set of skills” in this follow up to the successful 2008 film. In Taken we watched Bryan Mills stop at nothing to save his daughter Kim from disappearing forever at the hands of kidnappers seeking to sell her into sex slavery.
Taken 2 picks up two years later when the father of one of the villains Bryan killed swears revenge, and takes him and his ex-wife “Lenny” hostage in Istanbul. Without his weapons and the assistance of his former CIA support staff Bryan must enlist and rely on the only person he can if they hope to survive, his daughter Kim. Bryan then employs his unique tactics to get his family to safety and systematically take out the kidnappers, one by one.
I liked Taken. It’s not profound filmmaking but it drew upon our inherent ruthlessness when faced with the prospect of protecting a loved one. As a father with a teenage daughter I easily identified with Bryan’s raw sense of emotion and unrelenting determination. The script did an nice job of conveying the relationships necessary to the plot and later ramping up the action. It was kick-butt action coupled along with a decent story and strong central character.
Derived as a sequel Taken 2 eschews character building and tosses us a quick setup based upon the events that transpired in the first film. It then proceeds with a thin revenge style plot and several action based encounters that revolve around Bryan’s “skills”. There are some problems the most glaring of which is the inescapable feeling of déjà vu. Additionally the idea of giving Kim any more of a role than as a victim severely waters down credibility. One of the pivotal non-combat action sequences involves an extended car chase through the tight streets of Istanbul. The sequence isn’t bad however Kim is doing the driving. This might not be such an issue had there not been a scene earlier in the movie when her father took her out for a driving lesson (practicing her parallel parking) in preparation of taking the test for her driver’s license.
As far as the hand to hand combat and gunplay goes there is nothing original contained here. There are the requisite physical exchanges both one to one and group, chases, both vehicle/foot and shoot outs. Bryan doles out most of the punishment while receiving little (that has any effect) in return. Not to mention he isn’t shown re-loading his handgun which never runs out of ammo. Nitpicky I know but without the ability to get lost in the action I couldn’t help but notice. Looking at Taken 2 without comparison to the original it has some merit in terms of generating quantifiable suspense and offering action based elements that genre fans can adhere to. In the end it’s unremarkable and for those that enjoyed the first film feels like a sub-par rehashing with a big helping of cheese.
Both the theatrical and unrated cuts are included on this Blu-ray Disc. I watched the unrated cut which adds approximately 6 additional minutes to the theatrical version’s run time.
The film contains intense sequences of violence and action and some sensuality.
AUDIO/VIDEO - By The Numbers:
REFERENCE = 92-100 / EXCELLENT = 83-91 / GOOD = 74-82 / AVERAGE = 65-73 / BELOW AVERAGE = under 65
**My audio/video ratings are based upon a comparative made against other high definition media/blu-ray disc.**
(Each rating is worth 4 points with a max of 5 per category)
- Low frequency extension:
- Surround Sound presentation:
- Dialogue Reproduction:
(Each rating is worth 4 points with a max of 5 per category)
- Black level/Shadow detail:
- Color reproduction:
Taken 2 comes to Blu-ray Disc from 20th Century Fox Home Entertainment featuring 1080p AVC encoded video that has an average bitrate of 28 Mbps and lossless DTS-HD 5.1 Master Audio sound that has an average bitrate of 3.2 Mbps.
This is a solid high definition presentation that features crisp high definition detail and resolute imagery. Close up camera shots of the cast can be exquisite as the fine minutia and subtle lines of their faces are obvious. The weave pattern in clothing and the texture of surfaces within the frame are clearly discernible. There are a handful of instances where sharpness wavers but duration is brief and more than likely attributable to the photography. Colors are natural in appearance without over saturation or blooming. Fleshtones appear naturally differentiated and lifelike in depiction. Blacks are dense in appearance with excellent dynamic range and noticeable gradational stages in low lighting. Contrast is strong but not overpowering which provides plenty of pop to colors and whites which yields a dynamic yet pleasing picture. The end result is a great looking high definition video presentation.
This Lossless DTS-HD MA surround mix accents the video presentation and makes regular use of the entire system to drive the film’s elements. This is a well balanced and fairly active soundtrack that augments the dynamic impact associated with the films action and music score. The surround channels are sporadically engaged with a blend of discretely placed sounds and spatial ambience. Dynamic range is extended and accents the high level of sonic detail present in the recording. I never had any trouble discerning subtle vocal inflections or the presence of low level sounds that were contained in the background. The mix facilitates natural integration of the front and rear channels which creates a stable and well proportioned listening experience that is complimented by rich bass that has excellent palpability and tight extension.
- Theatrical and Unrated version of Taken 2
- (HD) 5 deleted scenes
- (HD) 25 minute alternate ending - It’s worth checking out but offers a different take that ultimately changes nothing
- (HD) Black Ops field manual (unrated version only) – Interactive HUD/pop-up that includes a location tracker, number of kills, character profiles etc.
- (HD) Sam’s tools of the trade – A breakdown of the contents of Bryan’s weapon/tool cache that can viewed via interactive or play all options
- FX Channel presents: In Character with Liam Neeson – 5 minutes
- (HD) Theatrical trailer
- Bonus DVD
- Digital Copy
Taken 2 is the follow up to 2008’s Taken, a top notch action flick that kicked butt and took no prisoners. Unfortunately this film fails to capture the freshness of the original and is a sub-par rehashing that does little to distinguish itself. It comes to Blu-ray from 20th Century Fox Home Entertainment featuring excellent high definition audio/video quality and above average bonus material that includes an extended alternate ending and decent interactive content. If you are a fan of the original Taken 2 is probably worth seeing. Be sure to rent first and keep expectations in check.
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Stewart Filmscreen - Studiotek 130 G3 100” 16x9 Screen
Onkyo PR-SC5508 THX Ultra 2 Audio/Video Processor
Sherbourn Technologies - 7/200 Seven Channel Amplifier
Oppo BDP-103 Universal Disc/3D capable Blu-ray Player (HDMI Audio/Video)
Panasonic DMP-BDT310 3D capable Blu-ray Player (HDMI Audio/Video)
Toshiba HD-XA2 HD DVD Player (HDMI Audio/Video)
Sony Playstation 3 Blu-ray disc Player (HDMI Audio/Video)
System Controller: Apple iPad/iRule Pro HD Universal Remote Control
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