We Need to Talk About Maggie Grace Running in “Taken 2”

I have not actually watched Taken 2, which is the sequel to Taken and which has basically the same plot (as sequels must): Liam Neeson is a retired intelligence/black ops badass just trying to reconnect with his family who gets kidnapped by enemies and forced to break out his murder skills in order to save himself and his daughter and wife from the clutches of evil non-Americans. As a sort of subtly jingoistic “American Murder Skills ROCK!” kind of story, the original was entertaining mainly because Neeson is an unlikely but effective action hero: He’s big in a loose-limbed way but also conveys intelligence, allowing me to believe that he’s a man who knows what he’s about when it comes to instantly analyzing a room full of toughs for the best way to American Murder them all. It helps that the setting allows Neeson to always be swathed in voluminous sweaters that can hide the fact that he doesn’t have a Van Damme sort of body.

I’ve seen snatches of Taken 2 on cable these past few weeks, and I was struck not by the badassery of 60-year old Liam Neeson or the cynical way the sequel repeats the basic premise of the first film, but by how Maggie Grace runs, especially in this scene:

This clip doesn’t really give you the best view of it, but trust me: In this scene Maggie Grace is supposedly a 20-something girl in good shape who is running for her life. And Maggie Grace runs like she has an invisible bear riding on her shoulders, or like she’s secretly a 909-year old woman with two hip replacements. The complete lack of urgency and believability in the way she runs in this sequence is simply shocking: Whatever thin verisimilitude the movie had built up to this point was destroyed by the fact that the bad guys could have played a game of gin rummy while Maggie huffed and puffed her way across the rooftops and still managed to catch her. Probably as she carefully and slowwwwlllly made her way over a low wall of some sort.

Seriously, it’s like watching a training montage from an old Police Academy movie.

Now, I can accept the fact that Maggie Grace was hired for her looks rather than her athletic (or acting) skills. In the first film, where all she had to do was play “on heroin” and “in lingerie” that worked just fine. But running? Man, a few million bucks in CGI would not have been wasted in making her look like she had ever run before in her life. Like, ever.

Or, you know, go old school: Stunt double. No shame – well, yes, there is some shame in this, but it still would have helped the scenes tremendously. Because Maggie Grace runs like she is a much larger person that we just can’t see, like Jack Black looking at Gwyneth Paltrow¬† in Shallow Hal.


  1. DeadlyAccurate

    I will never understand the reaction when someone holds a gun on you to get down on your knees. You’ve basically made it that much easier for the other person to shoot you. Your chances aren’t great either way, but at least you have a bit more maneuverability when you’re standing.

    The same with telling someone, “Drop your gun or I’ll shoot [your friend]!” Um, why would I do that? Then you can shoot with impunity, and I can’t do anything about it. How about I keep holding my gun on you, so if you shoot my friend, I kill you, too? How’s that sound?

    I want to see this scene some day:

    Bad guy holds gun on friend. “Drop your gun or I’ll–!”
    *bam* Good guy shoots him before he can finish the sentence. “You’ll what?”

    (In reality, you risk them squeezing the trigger when they get startled, so don’t try this at home, kids).

  2. Mediterranean queen

    I absolutely agree tha she cannot act. At all. She has bad timing, no sense of urgency, and makes the dumbest expressions. If was blatantly obvious as soon as she comes on screen that she really doesnt have a clue what to do in front of the camera. Shes just plain bad as an actress.

  3. Mike

    All you need to do is go back to the first Taken and watch her run to meet her friend at the airport, or her mom upon her triumphant return from the black market.

    Seriously, she looks like she has no control over her muscles and is just a drooling imbecile.

  4. I like Mike's comment

    Mike is on point hahahahaha. It is so true the stupid ways she runs in the first Taken. The airport thing with her friend just had me thinking she’s 17. She’s 17 in this movie. 17. The way she runs is as if she’s like a 6 year old who runs into sprinklers on a hot summer day.

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