Taken 2 appears in an aspect ratio of approximately 2.40:1 on this Blu-Ray Disc. This wound up as a very appealing presentation.
Sharpness looked solid. Virtually no softness materialized, as the image remained tight and well defined. Jaggies, shimmering and edge enhancement failed to appear. Source flaws were a non-factor, as the movie was always clean.
Where would the modern filmmaker be without teal and orange? Forced to tell stories with fewer clichés, I guess. Despite this – and the introduction of some light greens and tans to “spice up” the visuals - the hues appeared well-developed and displayed good range for what they were able to do. Blacks seemed deep and tight, while shadows were clear and smooth. In the end, the image was consistently excellent.
As for the DTS-HD MA 5.1 soundtrack of Taken 2, it matched up well with the visuals. As expected, the movie’s action elements provided the most pizzazz, as car chases and other dynamic sequences showed good movement and involvement. These components meshed together well and created a nice sense of environment, with useful material from the surrounds.
Audio quality seemed fine. Speech was crisp and distinctive, with no edginess or other concerns. Music was full and rich, while effects came across as lively and accurate. The track boasted good low-end when appropriate. This became a quality soundtrack for an action flick like this.
The disc delivers both the film’s theatrical version (1:32:07) and an unrated cut (1:38:18). How do these differ? Since I only watched the unrated edition, I can’t say. Nonetheless, I wanted to mention that both versions show up here.
Five Deleted Scenes run a total of six minutes, 56 seconds. We find “Airport” (1:35), “Lenore and Kim in Room” (1:26), “Bryan Finds Lenore” (0:43), “Murad on the Phone Near Van” (0:48), and “Foot Chase in Full” (1:52). “Airport” shows the arrival of coffins in Albania, and “Room” lets mother and daughter discuss relationships. “Finds” gives us a little more action, “Phone” adds a minor connecting moment, and “Chase” expands an existing scene. “Room” is the only one with any real narrative value, and it doesn’t do much.
We also get an Alternate Ending. In this 25-minute sequence, we get a long car chase followed by Bryan’s efforts to finish off events. I actually prefer this to the existing finale, as I think the driving scenes add much-needed vitality to the film. I understand why the filmmakers probably went the way they did, as the existing conclusion does more to emphasize the main character, but I think the alternate ending is more interesting.
Under Sam’s Tools of the Trade, we can access information in two different ways. We can learn about spy equipment/weapons via a three-minute, 32-second featurette, or we can check out each item one at a time. Either way you choose, you’ll find an informative little piece.
In Character with Liam Neeson goes for five minutes, one second and includes comments from the actor. He discusses character, story and action. This doesn’t become a deep chat, but Neeson throws in a few interesting notes.
For an interactive feature also found on the first movie’s Blu-ray, we go to the Black Ops Field Manual. This provides a combination of text commentary and statistics that relate to the movie’s plot. The former tells us minor factoids about bits that crop up during the flick. This doesn’t turn into an in-depth piece, but it adds some useful material.
The other bits give us info about characters and situations. We’ll get biographies of the story’s participants as well as occasional “geographic locators”: a map appears on screen and shows us Bryan’s location. At the top of the screen, a bar keeps track of the distance Bryan travels throughout the film and how many people he hurts and kills. We also see views of the injuries experienced by various participants. The presentation can feel gimmicky and I’ve have preferred if “Ops” stayed with just a text commentary, but the overall impact remains reasonably positive.
The disc opens with ads for Broken City, Chasing Mavericks and The Following. These pop under Sneak Peek along with promos for “Bond 50th”, Skyfall, Red Dawn, Lawless and Killing Them Softly. The disc also tosses in the trailer for Taken 2.
A second disc gives us a DVD copy of Taken 2. It provides a barebones affair devoid of any extras.
While I wasn’t a huge fan of Taken, I thought it offered an above-average action flick. Unfortunately, Taken 2 fails to live up to its predecessor; it brings us a watchable affair but never rises above that level to become anything better than just “okay”. The Blu-ray boasts excellent visuals along with solid audio and a decent roster of bonus materials. Fans of the first movie will still enjoy the sequel, but they shouldn’t expect greatness from it.