Movie Review: ‘Taken 2’ takes viewers back to familiar territory

By Nathan Gordon | | @GordonRises
Taken 2 | Directed by Olivier Megaton | Rated PG-13

First Words
Those who have seen Taken are probably wondering what exactly the sequel to the successful first film would be about — meaning how similar will the two storylines be. If you have seen the trailer then the question is already answered. If not, then let’s just say I’m sure the idea for the plot didn’t take more than a couple of minutes to create.

Still-retired special agent Bryan Mills (Liam Neeson) travels to Istanbul for work. After his business is done there he gets a surprise visit from his ex-wife Lenore (Famke Janssen) and his daughter Kim (Maggie Grace). While riding around Istanbul, Bryan and Lenore are kidnapped by the family of the victims Bryan killed in Taken. Of course Bryan doesn’t go without a fight. Before finally being taken away, Bryan informs his daughter of what has happened and he is able to help talk her through escaping from being kidnapped again like she had been in the first movie. Now with Bryan being the one kidnapped this time, he uses the help of Kim to help him escape. Then he must figure out how to go back and save his ex-wife.

So what if Taken 2 stars a 60-year-old unstoppable special agent, as long as the character is played by Liam Neeson. Neeson is able to make a very unbelievable character exciting with a calm and confident demeanor. The action done by Neeson is also very cool to watch. The hand-to-hand combat is handled well. Watching Neeson come away from a fight as the winner using just his hands and gun was fun to witness.

Taken 2 included interesting elements to the story also. The torture technique used on Lenore involving a neck cut wasn’t something out-of-this-world but creative none the less and something I personally haven’t seen before (or at least that I can remember). The techniques used by Bryan to save his family are interesting too, no matter how silly they get. The scene where Bryan helped Kim find his location using a map and grenades seemed kind of ridiculous but cool at the same time. You’re in for a surprise when it comes to the knowledge Bryan uses to do what he does best.

I’m not a fan of director Olivier Megaton style of directing. I didn’t enjoy his methods used in Columbiana or Transporter 3, and I didn’t enjoy them in this movie. The set pieces Megaton chooses and how he goes about shooting them gives his movie a dull vibe.

The biggest thing going against Taken 2 is the similarity it has to its predecessor. Yes, I know it’s a sequel but it still can go above and beyond the first one. Once we see what family member Bryan has to save, we can already guess how it’s going to happen. What makes it even worse is that the storyline has less excitement this time around. In Taken, we don’t know where the hunt Bryan goes on will take him. In this film, we know exactly where he is heading to find his wife. The villains this time around once again don’t sport much of a problem for Bryan to top it off. They even leave our special agent alone after he’s kidnapped, which of course leaves our hero plenty time and space to plan his escape. But let me stop rambling and just say that Taken 2 goes wrong where Hangover 2 went wrong.

Last Words
Although Taken 2 is hindered by being predictable as can be, the character brought to life by Liam Neeson is entertaining to watch as the somewhat unstoppable force who picks off his enemies one by one and uses unheard of methods to again do what he does best.

RATING: 2.5/5


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