Taken was one of those rare films that comes along and does better than anyone, including the filmmakers, could have predicted.
A film with that much success doesn’t go without a sequel. It’s the law.
PLOT: Bryan (Liam Neeson) is on holiday in Istanbul with his ex-wife Lenore (Famke Janssen) and daughter Kim (Maggie Grace) when they are taken hostage by the Albanians. Bryan must use his particular set of skills to save his family once more. END PLOT
If you’ve already seen Taken you will not be surprised to learn that Taken 2 follows the exact same formula with a “if it isn’t broke why fix?” attitude. The only difference between the two films is the rating.
I can’t complain too much as with a sequel the action was either going to be ramped up to cartoonish levels or dumbed down to cater for a wider audience. Guess which version will make more money?
The action is 12A grade and decent if unremarkable. It would appear that Bryan used up his spectacular set of skills in the first film and (literally) saunters around Istanbul occasionally looking for his ex-wife/failing to save her.
The humour in Taken 2 is mostly unintentional with Bryan's ridiculously complicated set of directions for his ex-wife being the most amusing. The overall sense of inconvenience his kidnapping causes Bryan Mills is funnier than any witty quip.
Liam Neeson is the undoubted star of this franchise. In the hands of Jason Statham or Clive Owen it probably wouldn’t have been on my radar but Liam Neeson scowls his way through the film half bemused/half mildly irritated and it makes for great viewing. The fact that he just radiates his Northern Irishness (I can see it) makes it all the more entertaining.
Kim Mills is placed very high up the Top Ten Damsel chart but Maggie Grace is very good in that role and puts in a better performance than she will get credit for.
The villains are all genetic, nameless Albanians and it worries me that my only knowledge of the country comes from the Taken films.
On a budget of $45million (IMDB) everything about Taken2 is distinctly average especially when compared to the $25million budget of Taken. It's hard to see what the extra money was spent on unless Neeson upped his fee drastically.
Taken was a guilty pleasure that bordered on being a respectable choice and I know that Taken2 isn’t as good but I can’t help but like it. It is the Neeson factor! Taken2 gets a 7/10.
There is no need for a Taken3 but there will be. I will see it on opening weekend.