Fast forward to… the grenade-aided cartography in Taken 2
The sequel features one truly awesome-stupid feat of MacGyver-style engineering.
Cruder than its 2008 predecessor in just about every respect (technical, political, moral), Taken 2 lacks the momentum that made the first film compelling in spite of its noxious reactionary glee. The sequel does include one truly awesome-stupid feat of MacGyver-style engineering, though. Liam Neeson’s security expert, imprisoned by relatives of the first film’s sex traffickers, makes a furtive call to his daughter (Maggie Grace). He instructs her to get the grenades in his hotel-room closet, which he’s conveniently brought to Istanbul for a routine bodyguard mission. He then asks her to set them off outside. Through careful counting of the seconds after each blast, he’s able to determine how far away she is, and she’s able to pinpoint his location using a shoelace as a mapping guide. If the rest of Istanbul is disturbed by the explosions, the movie can’t be bothered to show us. It’s this sort of absurdist Bond maneuver that makes the series fun, not sequences of Neeson exacting vengeance with a modified Vulcan nerve pinch. (Available on HD streaming services now; arrives on VOD, DVD and Blu-ray Tue 15.)