Liam Neeson returns as Bryan Mills, ex-CIA agent and doting father in Taken 2, this time appearing as a hostage himself. Last time it was all business, this time it’s personal for the families of the gang members taken down by Bryan previously, seeking the Mills clan out to enact their own revenge. As the family holidays in Istanbul, both Bryan and ex-wife Lenore (Famke Janssen) are kidnapped by the Albanian gangsters, leaving the now eighteen-year-old Kim (Maggie Grace) to adopt her father’s skills in order to save her parents.
Taken 2’s rating has been knocked down a notch to a 12A so preconceptions of brutal torture and bloodshed should be abandoned, although that’s not to say that there isn’t a fair share of action throughout. Neeson demonstrates his impressive logical and physical skills which are still surprising to see in an older hero, and there are plenty of moments to make audiences jump to the word ‘ badass’. It is understandable to be dubious of Maggie Grace’s ability to take on the partial role of heroine; however, she is able to portray both terrified teenager and determined rescuer on the same plane with conviction. In particular, Taken 2 features an epic car chase in which learner driver Kim is forced to evade capture and in turn annihilates most of the city.
Olivier Megaton takes over from Pierre Morel as director of the sequel and has chosen to take a more exotic, vibrant approach to action. Whilst Taken was a dark, suspenseful ninety-three minutes with a plot that carried the entertainment factor almost as much as the action, Megaton’s method appears to follow the lines of gorgeous scenery plus hard-hitting action equals a film of epic proportions, missing the charm of its predecessor. Megaton’s direction isn’t particularly bad; it just seems to miss the point in favour of action, action, action.
There are some cringe worthy moments throughout, in particular a moment when Neeson somehow appears to kill an enemy simply with a gentle face grab. It’s safe to assume that this is to show Bryan’s strength, however, don’t be surprised if you find yourself and other members of the audience laughing at this seemingly serious instance. As with Taken and almost every other action flick, many situations throughout Taken 2 are lacking any logical thought but taken with a pinch of salt, can still be very enjoyable.
Taken 2 is far from a classic movie, but it’s still extremely enjoyable if only to imagine what life would be like with Bryan Mills as your dad. The tradition of sequels never being as good as the first instalment is definitely followed, but Taken 2 doesn’t let the audience down as much as it could have.