Taken 2 follows the first film with a plot of vengeance. To refresh your memory or in case you haven’t seen the original, I’ll give a brief overview. Bryan Mills, played by Liam Neeson (The Dark Knight Rises, Battleship, Wrath of the Titans), is a retired CIA agent whose daughter Kim, played by Maggie Grace (Lockout, The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn – Part 1, Faster), is kidnapped and sold into prostitution while she’s on a trip to Paris. Bryan travels to France and does everything in his power to get her back, which includes quite a bit of murder and torture, but he eventually succeeds and gets her back.
Taken 2 follows the father of one of the many people Bryan killed during the first film, Murad, played by Rade Serbedzija (X-men: First Class, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 1, Snatch). Murad rounds up a group of gun-toting men and plans to ambush and kill Bryan while he’s working as a bodyguard in Istanbul. His wife Lenore, played by Famke Janssen (The Chameleon, Taken, X-men: The Last Stand), and daughter Kim drop in for a surprise visit, so Murad takes advantage of it and changes his plan. Murad decides to kidnap all three of them, kill Lenore and Kim while Bryan watches, then kill him. Obviously, Bryan puts a spanner in the works, and Taken 2 follows his plan to take down Murad and all his henchmen before his family gets hurt.
Taken 2 is a solid sequel, but at the same time, it doesn’t feel quite as intense as the original. Liam Neeson encapsulates his role brilliantly as Bryan again, and Maggie Grace plays a bigger on-screen role than in the prequel and does so very well, while the rest of the cast all put in solid performances. Taken 2 is a good sequel that follows a similar formula, but doesn’t copy/paste the original like The Hangover and The Hangover Part II. While this is very welcome, there isn’t quite the same excitement here as Taken.
Since Bryan’s an ex-CIA agent (and after the ordeal of the first film), he’s heavily prepared just in case anything similar might happen again, which happens in Taken 2. When it does happen, there isn’t much anticipation of how he’ll find info on where his family is by using his skills. It’s more of a situation where he’s much more calculating and planned, and he pretty much knows where his family are for most of the movie. It’s still a good action plot, but having seen the first film, Taken 2 seems a little bit underwhelming. The action and fighting scenes are great, but also don’t seem very intense. This is mainly because the music doesn’t build up or crescendo, and there are a huge amount of camera cuts to different angles – I’m talking about 25 cuts in a 10-second fight scene. Apart from that, the movie was filmed quite well in a great setting.
Overall, Taken 2 is a great film that’s a little bit predictable, but ultimately enjoyable to watch because of the great acting and good action. As a sequel, it’s a bit underwhelming because the movie isn’t as intense due to Bryan’s preparation, and it seems a bit short, though entertaining. It’s not a must-watch, but it is good fun for fans of the first. Newcomers, however, might not be so drawn in. Overall, Taken 2 is a good but flawed film.
In Theaters: UK 4th October 2012/US 5th October 2012
Runtime: 1 hour 31 minutes
Rating: PG-13 (for intense sequences of violence and action, and some sensuality)
Director: Olivier Megaton
Cast: Liam Neeson, Maggie Grace, Famke Janssen, Rade Serbedzija, Leland Orser, Jon Gries, D.B Sweeney, Luke Grimes
Genre: Action, Crime, Drama, Thriller
Distributor: 20th Century Fox
Official Site: http://www.taken2movie.co.uk/
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