I recently watched the extended cut of Taken 2, which is to be released on Blu-ray and DVD on February 4th in the UK. This “Harder Cut” features more action and violence than the theatrical release of the film. My overall opinion of Taken 2 has not greatly changed, although this version is more entertaining simply because it delivers a better action movie experience. It should be noted that despite the extra material, the film still suffers due to the rapid editing techniques that are currently fashionable. I just do not understand why directors think this is how viewers want their fight scenes presented.
I thought it may be useful to post a selection of screen captures highlighting the major differences between the extended cut of the film and the PG-13 theatrical version. It is not in anyway a comprehensive list but it broadly shows the major differences. I sure in due course Movie-Censorship.com will produce a more thorough breakdown.
Jean-Claude (Olivier Rabourdin) spits blood after being punched by Suko (Alain Figlarz). This happens several times during the interrogation scene which appears to be longer.
Suko menaces Jean-Claude with a pair of scissors and then stabs him in the leg. We get to see the scissors being wielded but the actual stabbing takes place of camera. It is inferred that Suko then twists them to inflict further pain.
The first fight with the Albanian gang members may be a little longer in this version, with possibly more focus on the blows from the telescopic batons. However, there is a noticeable difference with regard to the bullet hits, when one gang member kills another who is being held hostage by Bryan Mills (Liam Neeson).
As the Albanian gang members hunt for Kim (Maggie Grace), a hotel guest becomes collateral damage. An additional bullet hit is now visible (possibly CGI).
Further bullet hits have been added to the hotel security guards as they are shot exiting the lift.
When Suko wounds Lenore (Famke Janssen), the neck wound is more visible, although it still remains a somewhat understated act of violence. However it should be noted that in the plot the wound was not meant to sever the artery and cause a quick death.
When Bryan escapes from captivity he kills the Albanian guards watching TV in the kitchen. One attempts during the course of a fight to kick him and is subsequently shot in the foot.
Another gang member attacks Bryan in the kitchen. As his gun is out of ammunition, he crushes the man’s windpipe with it instead.
In the tenement shoot out, an Albanian gang member makes the mistake of peering through a bullet hole in the wall to determine if Bryan is dead. He is shot through the head more explicitly in this version.
During a struggle with one of the guards, Bryan reaches for a broken door handle and uses it as a weapon. This scene is quite difficult to follow due to the editing but it appears that he stabs the man in the shoulder with it.
The final fight between Suko and Bryan has been extended and appears to contain some additional holds and punches (Please see the gallery below for further images. Click to enlarge). I am not one hundred percent sure if the eye gouging was in the theatrical version or not. Suko also uses his knife earlier in the fight and cuts the palm of Bryan’s hand. Bryan then subsequently places Suko in a arm lock and stabs him in the shoulder with his own knife. When Bryan lifts and drops Suko at the end of the fight, you clearly see a close shot of the back of his head strike the stone dais. Finally during the denouement , when Bryan drives Murad Krasniqi (Rade Serbedzija) on to the coat hooks, the camera zooms in on the wall fittings and there’s a side shot of the corpse hanging from them.
As stated earlier this is not in anyway a comprehensive analysis. There may be some further scenes that run longer in the Extended Cut, such as Lenore being shown the various knives and instruments that Suko intends to torture her with. I think that the Extended Cut offers a better version of the movie and that Taken 2 will fair well on home media and VOD, providing ideal post pub viewing.