Taken 2 took it in the teeth with the critics, but for all the wrong reasons. None of the critics seemed to mention just what a horrible father Liam Neeson portrayed in this movie. About halfway through the film, I wondered why they didn’t call it Taken Away By Social Services. The best way to break down the increasing negligence is in Choose Your Own Adventure form, sort of like Robert Brockway’s Choose Your Own Drug Fueled Adventure on Cracked.com, but without the drugs. Option B is what happened in the movie.
You are enjoying a ride through town with your ex-wife, while simultaneously undermining her struggling marriage, and you notice some bad guys start to follow you. Do you:
a) Stop the car and escort your wife to safety. (Page 99)
b) Tell your wife where to go and hope that she can outrun/outwit trained criminals. (Page 131)
After some careful maneuvering , they lose your trail and you are safe. THE END.
Surprise, surprise. She gets caught and used as leverage. (Page 20)
Oh no! You’ve been taken hostage by the man whose son you killed in the last movie. Luckily, for reasons beyond explanation, he allows you to make a long phone call instructing your daughter where to go while at gunpoint. Do you:
a) Tell her to call the police and security immediately as precious time is ticking away. (Page 44)
b) Tell her exactly where to hide while the terrorists are standing five feet away from you. (Page 29)
That was a close call. The men were about to charge through the hotel with guns blazing, but the cops and security showed up in time to prevent a tragedy, as their job description demands. THE END.
Somehow that didn’t backfire in the age of evil men having text messaging and cell phones. Either way, your daughter is now safe and sound and no one would dare try to abduct her from the hotel again after they murdered multiple members of the staff and caused a huge scene. Do you:
a) Ignore the protestations of a sixteen-year-old, who’s pumped full of adrenaline and fear after hearing her parents have been taken, and refuse to allow her to come find you. Instead, you tell her to go down to the concierge and ask for a police escort to the embassy or the station. (Page 102)
b) Listen to her passionate rebuttal and send her alone through a completely unfamiliar city with armed men on her trail. (Page 65)
Looks like there was no cause for alarm. You prove yourself to be fully capable of undoing your handcuffs and wrestling a gun away from your prison guard. You shoot your way through the situation, save your wife, and rendezvous with your daughter at a safe location. Funny how that happens when it’s exactly what you’re trained to do. THE END.
You, um, have your daughter use your shoelace to draw intersecting circles with the radii being based on things you heard while the bad guys drove you through town with a bag over your head and also the wind direction. This doesn’t make any sense at all, but she agrees to do it. Your location is narrowed down to one of two places. Next, do you:
a) Give your location, obtained through dubious methods, to people equipped for handling abductions. (Page 30)
b) Tell her to throw a motherfucking grenade out the window. (Page 11)
The police are shockingly able to send not one but two and maybe even three squads to each location. Turns out you didn’t need your daughter to commit a Class 1 Felony after all. THE END.
Your daughter throws a motherfucking grenade onto the top level of an empty parking garage across the road – which is a full quarter-mile away, but never mind that – and blows up the only car parked there. You hear the explosion and ascertain your exact location. It’s clearly established that you fully intend to send your daughter on this fatal mission, so next, do you:
a) Arm her to the nines with the weaponry in the suitcase and tell her how to aim/shoot a gun. (Page 87)
b) Tell her to bring one handgun, no extra ammo, and some more grenades. Also, you tell her to act like a civilian, even though, again, a civilian would do civilian things like not showing up at a house full of terrorists. (Page 4)
Well, that was a bad idea. She probably would have managed to shoot the men chasing her if she were psychologically prepared to do so. Instead, she froze like a statue and they kidnapped her again. You need to find her, but you have no idea where she might be. Probably not the best idea for a third movie, but if the Hangover can do the exact same thing over again, you surely can too. THE END.
She continues to traipse around Istanbul, throwing grenades from rooftops like it ain’t no thang. It looks like her entire purpose for risking her life was to drop a handgun down the chimney to you — a handgun which, again, you easily could have gotten from a guard. But you must get your ex-wife to safety; btw they cut her jugular and she didn’t die because movies. Do you:
a) Make a heroic effort to get her out of the building, run to get a medic, or at least put her somewhere the bad guys can’t find her. (Page 44)
b) Leave her. (Page 102)
c) Oh, hey, wait. You have a cell phone. You can dial a goddamn doctor. It’s not like you don’t know where your location is now. (Page 44)
Your ex-wife is going to be all right. She’s in the hospital, but her vitals are stable, as you will later find out after a series of car chases, shootouts, and terse dialogue. THE END.
You left her. Really. Wow, I… I don’t even want to continue this book. That’s right, I, the author of this beloved series, am breaking every rule of fiction and damaging my credibility indefinitely to tell you that that was the wrong fucking move. Please never run for President. Anyway, your daughter needs help. Do you:
a) Drive her to a safe location while fending off the pursuing terrorists by shooting through the rear window. This is something you are capable of doing. In fact, almost positive it happened in the last movie. (Page 53)
b) Tell her to wait in a stolen taxi alone for five minutes and not a second longer. I should remind you that this is your teenage daughter and not Ryan Gosling’s character in Drive. Pretty sad that I have to keep bringing this up. (Page 12)
She got hit on the shoulder by a bullet and suffered some scratches when the car went into a spin, but it was nothing too severe. You can take her off of your mind for now and go back to looking for your ex-wife. Repeat, go back to looking for your ex-wife whom you allegedly love. (Page 111)
You show up in time to continue being a horrible parent. Your mission is to get her to the embassy. Do you:
a) Drive and shoot. (Page 20)
b) “Do you know how to shoot a gun?” you ask. “No,” she replies. “Then you drive,” you say. Logical sequence there. You command your daughter to perform stunts too difficult for most professional drivers and are even kind of a dick about her inability to weave through traffic. (Page 20)
You roll up to the embassy. Instead of explaining the situation to the guards, who would only be too happy to help in such a crisis, you inexplicably tell her to crash the car into a kiosk behind the .50 caliber machine guns. The guns tear big holes into your car and, if you weren’t the luckiest person on the planet, your daughter. You call your buddy to ask him to sort things out between you and the embassy. You neglect to mention there was no reason for this problem to ever occur in the first place. Turn to page 111, dumbass.
Your ex-wife’s sliced neck has miraculously healed. “Good,” you think, “I can abandon her again.” You do this and find the man you’re looking for. This man’s son sold your daughter into sex trafficking and absolutely deserved to die. This man was remorseless about his son’s actions, abused your ex-wife, and also deserves to die. Do you:
a) Kill him. (Page 200)
b) Give a long and contrived speech about how, in the end, you’re both fathers and that’s all that matters. For this common bond shared between you, him, and approximately 2 billion other people, you decide to spare his life. (Page 67)
You killed him. THE END.
You put the gun down on the table. He picks it up and tries to shoot you, but you have taken out the bullets. It was all a test and he failed. If fairness existed, there would have been bullets in that gun to end the series of awful decisions you made today. You kill him, go back home, and meet your daughter’s new boyfriend. You’re suspicious about him because he’s tan and there’s a 95% chance he will turn out to be a family member planted by the terrorists in the third movie. THE END.