92 Min | Action – Crime – Thriller | October 2012
IMDB Rating: 6.3
Director: Olivier Megaton
Starring: Liam Neeson, Famke Janssen, Maggie Grace
Taken 2 Review: Liam Neeson’s action-man renaissance in 2008’s “Taken” was a most unheralded critical and box-office hit for a seemingly generic revenge flick. Writers Luc Besson and Robert Mark Kamen managed to captivate audiences with a streamlined story of a retired CIA operative using his skills to locate and rescue his kidnapped daughter. It was a simple concept in that it utilized family bonds as motivation, but it was made exciting through a mixture of intriguing resourcefulness and crafty violence. Everything about the story of “Taken” was so concrete, that there didn’t seem like any obvious direction for a sequel, but a gross of $226.8 million on a $25-million budget talks, and so we have “Taken 2,” but what Besson and Kamen have come up with this time fails to measure up to the original in almost every way.
Simply, the Albanians that Mills killed en route to finding his daughter want revenge, so they track him to one of his private security jobs in Istanbul. As it happens, Kim and her mother, Lenore (Famke Janssen), decide to surprise him by flying to meet him there, though to be fair it’s not that obnoxious of a coincidence, as Mills had invited them to come after hearing Lenore’s current husband had canceled their family trip to China. In Taken 2, during their first full day together in Istanbul, Kim gets the idea to let Bryan and Lenore have some alone time in hopes of rekindling their relationship, but when they go into town they are followed by the Albanians, and despite Mills’ best efforts, he and Lenore are taken. The entire setup here is forced — really forced. It feels as though every single plot point or detail exists solely to create circumstances in which our main characters can get kidnapped, with ample occurrences both inconvenient and convenient to allow for problems and general suspense while also providing enough room for a solution.
The script also attempts to be a bit more theme-driven of Taken 2 than the first film, whether just because or in effort to compensate for its pointlessness. The father of one of the Albanians Mills killed, the “main bad guy” played by Rade Serbedzija, has a few conversations with Mills about taking the lives of family members and when revenge is or isn’t justified. It’s legitimate notion, but a bit out of place, we’re asked to consider the feelings of the random European thugs who we normally see as killing fodder for our action movies. We don’t care if you’re someone’s son — you’re a tattooed meathead who deserves to be offed if for nothing but our amusement. “Taken 2″ isn’t offensively bad, just uninspired and unable to make the case for its existence. At 91 minutes, it’s a harmless exercise in generic action filmmaking aimed at placating the folks who clamored to see more of one man’s particular set of skills, even if they’re the exact same skills applied in a less-than-spectacular manner.