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A view on Blu-ray by Gary W. Tooze

Taken 2 [Blu-ray]

 

(Olivier Megaton, 2012)

 

  

  

  

 

Review by Gary Tooze

 

Production:

Theatrical: 20th Century Fox

Video: 20th Century Fox

 

Disc:

Region: 'A' (as verified by the Momitsu region FREE Blu-ray player)

Theatrical Runtime: 1:32:07.897

Unrated Runtime: 1:38:18.685

Disc Size: 45,925,308,575 bytes

Theatrical Feature Size: 23,916,791,808 bytes

Unrated Feature Size: 25,520,265,216 bytes

Video Bitrate: 25.89 Mbps

Chapters: 24

Case: Standard Blu-ray case

Release date: January 15th, 2013

 

Video:

Aspect ratio: 2.35:1

Resolution: 1080p / 23.976 fps

Video codec: MPEG-4 AVC Video

 

Audio:

DTS-HD Master Audio English 3899 kbps 5.1 / 48 kHz / 3899 kbps / 24-bit (DTS Core: 5.1 / 48 kHz / 1509 kbps / 24-bit)
* Dolby Digital Audio English 448 kbps 5.1 / 48 kHz / 448 kbps
* Dolby Digital Audio Chinese 448 kbps 5.1 / 48 kHz / 448 kbps
* Dolby Digital Audio French 448 kbps 5.1 / 48 kHz / 448 kbps
* Dolby Digital Audio Spanish 448 kbps 5.1 / 48 kHz / 448 kbps

 

Subtitles:

English (SDH), English, Chinese, Spanish, none

 

Extras:

Black Ops Field Manual and Kill Counter (unrated version only) - runs with the film offering pop-ups
Tools of the Trade (3:32)
• 5 Deleted and Extended Scenes (6:57)
Alternative Ending (24:59)
FX Piece with Liam Neeson (5:01)

DVD and Digital Copy

 

Bitrate:

Theatrical

 

 

Unrated

 

 

Description: Liam Neeson returns as Bryan Mills, the ex-CIA operative who stopped at nothing to rescue his daughter from sadistic kidnappers. When the father of one of the kidnappers swears revenge, it is Bryan and his wife who find themselves "taken" hostage in Istanbul. To survive, Bryan must enlist the help of an unlikely ally and use his brutally efficient skills to take out his heavily-armed foes one by one.

***

He hunted them, he found them, he killed them; now they have come back to settle the score. Twentieth Century Fox Home Entertainment presents the return of former CIA operative Bryan Mills and his “particular set of skills” when TAKEN 2 arrives on Blu-ray Combo Pack and DVD January 15. The sequel to the 2008 box office smash Taken, this action-packed follow-up has brought in $135 million theatrically in the U.S. alone.

Oscar- and BAFTA-nominated actor, Liam Neeson (Clash of the Titans, Taken, Batman Begins) returns as Mills, the retired CIA agent who stopped at nothing to save his daughter Kim from kidnappers. When the father of one of the villains Bryan killed swears revenge, and takes him and his wife hostage in Istanbul, Bryan must enlist the help of Kim to escape. Bryan then employs his unique tactics to get his family to safety and systematically take out the kidnappers, one by one.

Produced by Luc Besson (The Professional, Taken) and directed by Olivier Megaton (Colombiana, Transporter 3), TAKEN 2, features gritty supporting performances from Famke Janssen (X-Men Franchise, Hansel & Gretel: Witch Hunters), Maggie Grace (“Lost,” The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn – Part 2) and Rade Sherbedgia (X-Men: First Class, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 1).

***

His family targeted by a vengeful crime boss in Istanbul, retired CIA agent Bryan Mills (Liam Neeson) must fight an army of killers to ensure their safe return in this action sequel from director Olivier Megaton (Transporter 3) and producer/co-writer Luc Besson (who penned the screenplay alongside Taken scribe Robert Mark Kamen)

 

 

The Film:

The original "Taken" may have earned an impressive $224 million-plus in worldwide box office receipts, but it apparently went unseen in one remote corner of Albania. That would be the home base of a group of men who, not knowing any better, feel compelled to menace Bryan Mills and his family one more time in "Taken 2." Talk about slow learners.

Led by taciturn Murad (grizzled veteran Rade Sherbedgia), these men are the blood relatives of the folks master of mayhem Bryan killed back in the day while rescuing his daughter Kim from the clutches of nefarious white slavers in Paris. "We will not rest until his blood flows into this ground," Murad says, helpfully speaking English at a picturesque Albanian cemetery. "We will have our revenge." Good luck with that, guys.

Excerpt from the The Los Angeles Times located HERE

Taken 2, sequel to the 2008 sleeper hit, doesn't worry too much about improbability in devising a way to bring Bryan Mills (Neeson) back into the action. In the first film, Mills punched and shot his way through Paris in order to retrieve his kidnapped daughter Kim (Maggie Grace). The followup jumps ahead two years, Kim still on edge from the experience and Mills just hoping to move past it all. To wash away bad memories, Kim and Mill's ex-wife Lenore (Famke Janssen) join the badass-for-hire on a work trip to Istanbul where everyone can finally relax. That is, until someone gets taken.

In Taken 2, director Olivier Megaton (Transporter 3, Colombiana) sticks to the formula that helped transform Neeson into an aged action star, laying out obvious hurdles for his MacGuyver-esque hero and letting fast-paced editing and Mills' fists do the heavy lifting. There's an added layer of character that feels like a tease: Mills and Kim are trying to act like a normal father/daughter ? handed the horrific experience of learning to drive as their through-line conflict ? and Megaton finds humorous ways to touch upon the struggle. In one sequence, Kim drives a stolen taxi cab away from gun-toting pursuers as Mills dictates directions from the passenger side. The action movie equivalent of ''10 and 2!'' is shouted, and all hell breaks loose in the moment of familial genius. But that's about it for Taken 2's innovation. More of the same is the goal here and the film delivers.

Excerpt from the Toronto Star located HERE

Image :    NOTE: The below Blu-ray captures were taken directly from the Blu-ray disc.

Taken 2 on 20th Century Fox Blu-ray offers both the Theatrical and 'Unrated' versions in 1080P - seamlessly branched.  The image is quite rich and thick with a heavy teal leaning.  Detail is quite strong with a decent bitrate but the camera is very kinetic with many fast-cuts in the many action sequences including two car-chase scenes. Contrast exhibits healthy, deep black levels. Daylight scenes are bright and usually more cheery with most of the intensity occurring in the dark shadows of Istanbul. This Blu-ray gives a solid presentation although the heavy teal could be bothersome to certain viewers. The action is so rife I found it rarely noticeable. Most will be suitably impressed.

 

CLICK EACH BLU-RAY CAPTURE TO SEE ALL IMAGES IN FULL 1920X1080 RESOLUTION

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Audio :

Audio is via a tension-filled DTS-HD Master 5.1 at a resounding 3899 kbps. Nathaniel Méchaly did the score - as he did for the original. It's punchy and powerful with enough subtleties to gauge it as remarkable. There are plenty of separations and depth. It certainly adds to the presentation value. There are optional subtitles and DUBs and my Momitsu has identified it as being a region 'A'-locked although other versions are available in Europe and Asia.

 

Extras :

Supplements include a 'Black Ops Field Manual and Kill Counter' that runs along the entire the (Unrated version only) film offering pop-up information. 'Tools of the Trade' is an interactive briefcase toolkit that details the weapons at Bryan's disposal - kind of like a Bond-thing although more practical and less flamboyant. There are 5 Deleted and Extended Scenes running 7 minutes. More impressive is the 25-minute 'Alternative Ending' with the following description from the director:

 

 

There is also a 5-minute FX Piece with Liam Neeson and his concerns over getting the sequel done correctly and the package has a DVD of the feature with access to a Digital Copy for your portal device.

 

 

BOTTOM LINE:
For those who liked the first one - Taken 2 is going to be appealing. Not as personal from a 'revenge-standpoint' but more a defensive nature protecting his daughter and Ex. Neeson is a great action hero - quiet, observant and proficient. He really fills a requirement in today's Hollywood tripe filled with muscle-bound dough-head protagonists. I enjoyed it - maybe a notch less than the first, but still quite entertaining.  The Blu-ray offers additional viewing content with the Unrated and the alternate ending. It's a good package, one that may get repeat viewing from fans. 

Gary Tooze

January 7th, 2013

  

  

  

 


 

About the Reviewer: Hello, fellow Beavers! I have been interested in film since I viewed a Chaplin festival on PBS when I was around 9 years old. I credit DVD with expanding my horizons to fill an almost ravenous desire to seek out new film experiences. I currently own approximately 9500 DVDs and have reviewed over 5000 myself. I appreciate my discussion Listserv for furthering my film education and inspiring me to continue running DVDBeaver. Plus a healthy thanks to those who donate and use our Amazon links.

Although I never wanted to become one of those guys who focused 'too much' on image and sound quality - I find HD is swiftly pushing me in that direction.

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60-Inch Class (59.58” Diagonal) 1080p Pioneer KURO Plasma Flat Panel HDTV PDP6020-FD

Oppo Digital BDP-83 Universal Region FREE Blu-ray/SACD Player
Momitsu - BDP-899 Region FREE Blu-ray player
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Gary W. Tooze

 

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