It’s been 4 years since the surprise hit ‘Taken’ gave the 56 year old Liam Neeson a new career boost as an action hero.
Liam, who turned 60 in June, capatalised on this and made ‘The A-Team’, ‘Unknown’ and ‘The Grey’ before ultimately returning back as the hardened retired CIA agent Bryan Mills.
Directed by Olivier Megaton (Colombiana, Transporter 3) and joined by the original cast of Famke Janssen and Maggie Grace, Taken 2 has all the ingredients (and lets be honest: how many do you need for a sequel of this stature) to create a new mindnumbing action movie.
The premise is just as lazy as the title of the movie though. The family of the people who were murdered by Bryan in part 1 are angry and seek revenge.They forge a plan to take Bryan and his family hostage and exact their revenge. Ofcourse, as luck would have it, Bryan and his family are vacationing in Istanbul and before we know it we are finding ourselves in the middle of another balls to the wall action movie.
The only real problem Taken 2 needs to face is already implied by its title, it’s the second time around and by now we’ve seen the original and know what to expect. The calculated instructions from Bryan (this time directed to his ex-wife instead of his daughter),the low pitched voice of Liam in general and the Jason Bourne fighting choreography. That doesn’t necessarily mean it’s going to be a bad movie, but it does take away from some of the fun and excitement we felt when we first saw ‘Taken’ a few years ago.
So on to the movie itself: Like I said above, Bryan and his family are taken, to be exact: he and his wife are, his daughter Kim (Maggie Grace) manages to evade the bad guys. Bryan manages to get in touch with her, and through some far fetched but still fairly cool CIA tactics he manages to free himself.
The movie is roughly 85 minutes long and by the time this happens we’re already an hour in and starting to see the lack of creativity in ‘Taken 2’. The bad guys (they are nameless so they can’t be called otherwise) manage to keep hold of his wife, so now he has to save her in the final 30 minutes of the movie. So basically it’s Famke Janssen doing the Maggie Grace role from part 1.
I say lack of creativity because it shows in every aspect of the movie. The scene with his CIA buddies from part 1 is rehashed and extended upon with some painfully bad written banter between them.
But it’s the moment when his daughter Kim, who is seen studying for her drivers license in the opening minutes, plays the getaway driver through the streets of Istanbul that you really start to shake your head.
She either has a real talent for driving a car, because she’s seen doing 180 turns, 80 mph driving in reverse and several handbrake corners, or it’s another case of scriptwriter’s gone mental.
On top of that we get 5 minutes of Bryan saying only 1 word sentences to her, like: Stop! Faster! Drive! Turn!
It’s a textbook example of what happens when uninspired writers go to work on a sequel.
And it’s a shame, ‘Taken’ had it’s share of unbelievable moments but in 2008 it felt alive, unexpected and because of the great performance of Liam and the fact that it was a new movie with characters we didn’t know, you went along with it.
Although Liam still shows he’s basically Daniel Craig’s bond in retirement (which is a good thing) he can’t save the movie by himself. The finale of the movie which takes place in an old building is good but nothing special. All in all, if you add it all together, besides from Liam there’s not a whole lot to love.
The general public seems to disagree as ‘Taken 2’ is already on its way to a good sized profit.
Hopefully, by the time ‘Taken the 3rd’ sees the light of day, they’ll take some more time to come up with a script that is worthy of the character that inhabits it.
As it stands, Taken 2 is worth seeing if you loved the first one, just don’t expect a lot from it.