|Starring||Liam Neeson, Maggie Grace, Famke Janssen, Rade Serbedzija|
|Release||5 OCT (US) 4 OCT (UK) Certificate 12A|
Nowhere is this laziness more apparent than when the script slips into moments of pure hole-ridden plot lunacy. As revenge for all the bad guys killed in the first film, the head daddy villain gets his revenge by ‘taking’ Neeson and his ex-wife. Only daughter Maggie Grace - you remember, the one who runs like a spaz - gets away from her captors, leading to misguided mishaps as an imprisoned Neeson tells his untrained, squeamish daughter how to find them. And he does this using a secret personal phone. Which he could have used to call the police.
There follows a ludicrous search and rescue plan: without getting into details, Neeson’s ex-CIA training reaches all-time high levels of implausibility as he roughly ascertains his location on a map of Istanbul by getting Maggie to draw a series of overly complicated circumferences on it – because geometry saves lives, kids. Then, as she gets nearer to him, he asks her to throw a series of grenades so he can listen out to how close she is to him. GRENADES. Mr Neeson, sir, as an upstanding moral man – a former government agent, even – are you entirely sure you want your daughter spazzily running across rooftops haplessly throwing explosives, at times without looking, like she’s on some kind of destructive rampage?
And yet, any amount of ridiculous plot points and clunky dialogue (“I just shot some guy” helpfully explains a henchman, meanwhile Maggie Grace tells her dad that Famke Janssen described their love as “super special”) can be taken with a pinch of salt in any balls-to-the-wall actioner. What is unforgivable, however, is the slapdash editing resulting in entire scenes losing all sense of cohesion and meaning. In an attempt to achieve the 12A rating, split-second shots of violent acts have been cut out in such a heavy-handed fashion that you’re left going “W-wuh? But… w-wuh?”
At one point, an important character is held with a knife to their neck and then it cuts to immediately after some kind of slicing. Did they just get their throat slit? As it turns out, no - it was just their cheek, but how were we supposed to tell? A climatic fight in which a bad guy looks set to kill Neeson gets turned around in the blink of an eye and now the bad guy is dead. How? Sorry folks, you'll have to wait for the Uncut Never-Before-Seen Uncensored Edition on DVD. In particular, the most anticlimactic moment of the entire film comes when a guy is apparently despatched by Neeson just gripping his face really hard.
Overall, this is the film that many were expecting first time round. Oskar Schindler as a badass CIA agent? Pffft – sounds hilariously dumb. Now, despite some genuinely exciting moments, and a few great comic nods to Neeson’s hardened nature as established in the first film, we finally get to see exactly how hilariously dumb this whole idea is.