Written by Christian Lees
Taken 2 is the sequel to Taken, the 2009 thriller directed by Pierre Morel that introduced us to Liam Neeson as Bryan Mills, an ex-CIA agent with “a particular set of skills.” In Taken, his daughter, Kim (Maggie Grace), travels to Paris with a friend and gets abducted by Albanian slave traffickers. Using his skills and connections, Mills travels to Paris, kills almost everyone in his way, and manages to rescue his
The beginning of the film shows an Albanian graveyard, presumably all of the people Neeson killed in the first film. The Albanians have vowed to track down the killer (Neeson) and bring him to justice in order to avenge their deaths. After Bryan, Kim, and Bryan’s ex-wife, Lenore (Famke Janssen), wind up in Istanbul on vacation, the family is tracked down. However, Bryan and Lenore are taken this time. How
will Bryan Mills handle this situation, and what will happen to his daughter back at the hotel?
Luc Besson and Robert Mark Kamin, the writers of the both movies, don’t waste any valuable time in making the audience figure out the plot of the movie. The major conflict is introduced in the first two minutes: the Albanians are after Neeson. The rest of the movie follows a predictable plot, allowing us to fully engross ourselves in the action and the characters.
Neeson’s action star persona shines in Taken 2. He performs extraordinary intellectual feats, kills a lot of people, and even includes a little bit of humor. At one point, Mills’ daughter, Kim, is instructed to throw grenades onto rooftops in the middle of a busy city. Not very realistic at all, but more explosions never hurt in this genre.
A majority of my gripes with the film involve the way the scenes were edited. The opening sequence is a confusing mess of flashing black-and-white images and flickering text. The pace at the beginning of the film seemed slow, and epic fist fights seemed slow and awkward. Otherwise, the shots of Istanbul were great in showing the architecture and culture of the city. The soundtrack was average for a movie of this style, nothing special.
If you’re wanting to see Liam Neeson doing what he does best, you’ll get just that. While the storyline is very similar to Taken, Olivier Megaton manages to direct an awesome thriller. After watching the film, my mind immediately jumped to comparing it to the Hangover franchise. The Hangover: Part II wasn’t a bad movie, but it was clearly reusing plot points from the original. Just as The Hangover moved from Las Vegas to Bangkok, Taken moved from Paris to Istanbul. Fans of Taken will enjoy Taken 2 for the car chases, suspense, and more Liam Neeson. 3 ½ out of 5 stars.