Cast: Liam Neeson, Famke Janssen, Maggie Grace, Leland Orser.
Director: Olivier Megaton.
Are you really surprised they decided to make a sequel to Taken after that film turned Liam Neeson into a bonafide action star in his mid-50s? In Taken 2, Neeson, now 60, returns as retired CIA agent Bryan Mills, who’s currently working in private security, and who’s accepted an assignment to protect a rich Arab sheikh in Istanbul. Unknown to Mills, the fathers and relatives of those Albanian sex traffickers who kidnapped his daughter in the earlier film, are hatching a plan to get revenge on him for dispatching their sons and brothers to grisly deaths. When his ex-wife Lenore (Famke Janssen) and daughter Kim (Maggie Grace) surprise him by showing up in the Turkish capital, he’s thrilled about spending the weekend with them. As it turns out however, all their hopes for a quiet family reunion quickly go out of the window.
Despite its plot being just as far-fetched as the earlier film, Taken 2 has an inherent disadvantage compared to its predecessor, which is that it doesn’t have that element of novelty and unpredictability that the 2008 film benefited from. Still it does throw you one interesting curveball – this time it’s Mills and his missus who get kidnapped, and it’s up to their daughter to help free them.
The action here involves some cool rooftop chase scenes a la Bourne, and at least one thrilling car chase sequence. The hand-to-hand fight scenes, meanwhile, are edited to appear so frantic that you’re denied the satisfaction of watching a good ol’ fashioned visceral punch-up. Still, the movie never takes itself too seriously, dutifully delivering exactly what you expect from it – a committed leading man who looks like he actually possesses both the smarts and the chops to take on a dozen bad guys single-handedly, and a pace so brisk, you have little time to process what’s happening.
I’m going with three out of five for Taken 2. Given that it’s all over in 90 minutes, it’s not a bad way to spend a lazy afternoon.
Rating: 3 / 5