I knew the Die Hard franchise was dead during Die Hard 2: The Hard-iest Death That Ever Hardened. John McClain is inside an exploding airplane and the blast throws him what appears to be 7 stories into the air, and homeboy survives.
Fuck. That. Shit.
And I don’t mean that I can’t suspend my disbelief. Fuck, I love fucking super hero movies where dudes survive impossible things. What pissed me off about Die Hard was how quickly it turned on it’s central idea. Die Hard was never about a super hero. It was about an average dude fighting bad guys before his body completely gives up. Die Hard started sucking the second John McClain became capable of surviving anything. Taken 2 looks to be the start of Oscar Schindler’s take on Die Hard.
Because the first Taken was pretty surprising in it’s grounded approach. Oscar Schindler was just a crazy old man out to find his kidnapped daughter. It was a hard task that tried Oscar Schindler as a man. The tension existed because he was flying blind most of the film. Taken 2 does not have that tension. Schindler knows where every bad guy is, kills them, and then saves his family. Oh!! Yeah, spoiler alert, he saves his family. Like it was ever in doubt.
There’s a scene where, early on, after he’s been kidnapped, Oscar Schindler deduces his location based upon hearing waves and a barking dog.
It’s supposed to be a cool scene. The audience is supposed to be like, “HOLY FUCK STICKS!!!! That dude is able to find himself based solely on a dog’s bark!!!” But it has the opposite effect. Anyone with a brain will be like, “Wait, a barking dog, really? Is there only one dog in this city? Does Oscar Schindler know that dog? Does he go surfing with that dog too? Cause he seems pretty excited about being next to water too.”
He just knows too much. He knows exactly where the bad guys are, exactly where his ex-wife is, and how to save them all within a short period of time. It’s the opposite of tension. It’s boredom.
The entire film turns it’s back on everything that clicked in the first film. And that’s how sequels fail. They quickly, sometimes eagerly, forget everything that made the series popular in the first place. It’s a real shame too because I really like Oscar Schindler as an action star. Let’s hope Taken 3: The Third Taken-ing gives Schindler a bigger challenge.