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Taken 2

Blu Ray

  • Score
    from 2 reviewers
    Review Date:
  • 'Taken 2' disappoints with lackluster action & plot; best for diehard Neeson fans.

    Taken 2 Blu-ray Front Cover

    Disc Release Date:

  • Video
  • Despite 'Taken 2's' lackluster action, its Blu-ray shines with a meticulous 1080p transfer, capturing gritty details, vibrant colors, and Istanbul's ambiance with striking clarity and depth.

  • Audio
  • While 'Taken 2' boasts a DTS-HD Master Audio soundtrack with immersive action, its sound design leans heavily on the front, somewhat overshadowing rear channel dynamics and dialogue with too much bass and a dominant score.

  • Extra
  • Explore deleted scenes, an alternate ending with a significantly different car chase, insights into Bryan's tactics, and Neeson's take on the sequel's complexities through HD/SD features and a unique Black Ops Field Manual.

  • Movie
  • Taken 2, under director Olivier Megaton, lacks the original's flair, delivering a forgettable sequel with uninspired action and a predictable plot, despite Liam Neeson's efforts.

    Video: 76

    Taken 2" makes a visually impressive leap onto Blu-ray, boasting a 1080p/AVC-encoded transfer that showcases not just the kinetic essence of the film but also the meticulous care taken in its home media presentation. The movie, shot traditionally on 35mm film to embrace a deliberately gritty aesthetic, benefits immensely from this high-definition treatment. The transfer remains faithful to the original grain structure, avoiding common pitfalls like edge enhancement or digital noise reduction, though it's noted that grain levels increase slightly in darker scenes. This doesn’t detract from the overall sharpness, however, with textures, whether it’s the intricate lines on Rade Šerbedžija’s face or the detailed leather of his jacket, popping with clarity. The color grading follows the action-genre playbook with its warm highlights and slight blue shadows, yet manages to deliver a vivid and striking picture without compromising on the shadow details or skin tones.

    The visuals extend beyond mere character close-ups and plunge into the heart of Istanbul with its 2.39:1 frame, revealing an astonishing level of detail in the city’s architecture and its bustling streets. The cinematography uniquely captures the essence of the location, right down to the minutiae of the urban landscape and the inherent vibrancy of its culture, brought to life through a carefully balanced color palette that favors ambers and yellows, reflecting the city's sweltering climate while maintaining the integrity of primary colors. Although black levels show slight inconsistency, often appearing a tad faded, it does little to mar an otherwise impeccable visual presentation.

    In sum, "Taken 2's" Blu-ray video quality far surpasses its narrative execution, offering aficionados and critics alike a compelling reason to admire the Blu-ray edition. The transfer excels in delivering a high-def experience that’s as close as possible to the director’s and cinematographer Romain Lacourbas' vision—crisp, detailed, and immersive. The stark clarity and depth of the visuals do not just recount Bryan Mills' relentless pursuit across Istanbul; they invite viewers into an almost tactile experience of the movie’s locale and atmosphere, setting a high benchmark for home video presentations.

    Audio: 74

    The audio presentation of "Taken 2" on Blu Ray, featuring a lossless DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 surround track, provides a mixed bag of experiences that ranges from functionally adequate to thrillingly immersive, depending on the scene and sound elements in focus. While the soundtrack excels in generating an immersive soundfield, particularly noted in the rear channels where the bustling sounds of Istanbul and action sequence effects like bullets and debris create an enveloping atmosphere, it struggles in its overall balance and design execution. The score by Nathaniel Méchaly, though rhythmically engaging and a fitting backdrop for the high-octane scenes, is sometimes overly prominent, overshadowing other crucial sound elements and leading to a skewed focus towards the front channels. This front-heavy mix results in action sequences that, while clear and detailed—especially in capturing nuances like the texture of clothing in motion or the crisp clash of metal in car chases—feel somewhat restrained in their spatial dynamics.

    The low-end response of the soundtrack is robust, providing a solid foundation for the film's numerous action-packed moments. Explosions, punches, and the roar of engines benefit from a deep, resonant bass that lends weight and impact to each event. However, this same prowess in the low frequencies occasionally overemphasizes the bass in dialogue, particularly in the case of Liam Neeson's "throaty, leonine voice," though it remains clear and easy to understand despite this imbalance. The soundstage demonstrates excellent clarity and separation in its execution, allowing minor details to come through with remarkable definition, which is commendable during the quieter moments of character interaction or when the dense ambient sounds of the setting fill the room.

    In summary, while "Taken 2's" audio track on Blu Ray offers moments of auditory excellence and immersive action, it is somewhat hampered by an overly front-loaded mix and an occasionally intrusive score. The rear channels, though effectively employed at times for ambient and action effects, could have been leveraged more consistently to enhance the sense of immersion. Despite these criticisms, the soundtrack delivers where it counts, with intelligible dialogue and a generally high-quality acoustic experience that, for most viewers, will compensate for its shortcomings and elevate the viewing experience of an otherwise average action film.

    Extra: 51

    The Blu-ray extras for "Taken 2" provide a comprehensive behind-the-scenes look that should intrigue fans and cinephiles alike. The alternate ending offers a drastically different finale, adding depth to Bryan's motivations and character dynamics, a feature likely to be the centerpiece of discussions. The 'Black Ops Field Manual' enhances the viewing experience by overlaying interesting facts and statistics, enriching the narrative's context. 'Sam's Tools of the Trade' and the FX Movie Channel interview with Liam Neeson provide further insights into the film's production and the protagonist's arsenal, while the deleted scenes and trailers add to the package, offering more content and perspectives on the movie's development.

    Extras included in this disc:

    • Deleted Scenes: Five short deleted scenes, including an extended version of the foot chase sequence.
    • Alternate Ending: A significantly different ending to the film.
    • Black Ops Field Manual: An interactive feature providing facts, maps, and tallies on Bryan's journey.
    • Sam's Tools of the Trade: Insight into Bryan's gadgets with the option to play all sections automatically.
    • FX Movie Channel Presents In Character with Liam Neeson: A deep dive into Neeson's approach to his character in "Taken 2."
    • Theatrical Trailer: Official movie trailer in high definition.
    • Sneak Peek: A preview of additional content or related promotions.

    Movie: 54

    'Taken 2,' directed by Olivier Megaton, stumbles into the action-packed but ultimately unsatisfying sequel territory, lacking the fresh energy and tight execution Pierre Morel brought to the original. This time, the narrative ambitiously tries to mix family drama with high-stakes action, weaving together a tale of revenge and familial bonds tested by yet another kidnap scenario. Bryan Mills (Liam Neeson), along with his ex-wife Lenore (Famke Janssen), find themselves at the mercy of the vengeful father of one of Bryan's former victims. This plot, while rich with potential for both character development and thrilling sequences, largely falls flat due to its predictable nature and a lack of innovation in its action scenes, which often come across as turgid and uninspired.

    Megaton's direction, while competent, does not save 'Taken 2' from feeling like a retread of its predecessor, diluting the impact of Neeson's magnetic performance with rapid cuts and close framings that make the action hard to follow. Despite a few suspenseful moments and an attempt to deepen character arcs—such as Kim (Maggie Grace) stepping into a more heroic role—the film struggles to balance its narrative elements, leading to a disjointed experience. The exploration of Bryan's family dynamics, notably his relationship with Lenore and Kim, aims for emotional depth but is overshadowed by the screenplay's focus on setting up the next action sequence. Consequently, characters feel underdeveloped, and their struggles resonate less with the audience.

    In technical terms, 'Taken 2' does manage to provide straightforward entertainment with its well-paced storyline and scenic Istanbul backdrop. However, it lacks the originality and impactfulness that made its predecessor stand out. Olivier Megaton’s adoption of quick edits and handheld camera work, while aiming for dynamism, often results in obscuring the action rather than enhancing it. The inclusion of both the theatrical cut and an unrated extended cut in the Blu-ray presentation offers slight variations but nothing substantial enough to address the core issues plaguing the film—mainly, its failure to significantly expand upon or enrich the 'Taken' universe in meaningful ways.

    Total: 61

    Taken 2," the sequel to the riveting action-packed thriller that captivated audiences worldwide, unfortunately falters in its attempt to recapture the magic of its predecessor. Directed by Olivier Megaton, known for "Transporter 3," the film struggles to find its unique voice, delivering a narrative that feels too familiar and lacks the innovative energy of the original. The movie propels forward with enough momentum to keep viewers from disengagement, yet it stumbles with its predictable storyline—revolving around a revenge plot by the family members of the first film's antagonists—and standard action sequences. Even Liam Neeson, reprising his role, seems aware of the sequel's shortcomings, subtly hinting at his dissatisfaction in public interviews.

    From a technical standpoint, 20th Century Fox's Blu-ray presentation of "Taken 2" shines, boasting impressive audio and visual quality that nears reference standards. The package includes an intriguing alternate ending that offers a slight departure from the main storyline, representing a notable highlight of the release. However, the additional materials, though satisfactory, don't provide enough incentive to elevate this release beyond the ordinary. The Blu-ray does justice to the film's technical aspects but can't mask the narrative and directorial flaws that hamper its overall impact.

    In conclusion, while "Taken 2" delivers a competent Blu-ray experience with commendable audiovisual fidelity and a glimpse into what could have been with an alternate ending, it ultimately falls short as a compelling continuation of the story that first endeared Liam Neeson's character to audiences. It stands as a testament to the challenges of sequels in maintaining the essence and excitement of their originals. As such, this release is recommended for die-hard fans and completists but is likely best suited as a rental for casual viewers seeking an evening's entertainment without expectations of originality or significant depth.