Taken was a surprise hit back in 2008, and now Liam Neeson returns as Bryan Mills, a man with a “special set of skills”. But is Taken 2 any good? The Daily Shift‘s Katy Quinn gives her verdict…
Nobody, including Liam Neeson, thought there would be a way for Hollywood to bring us another film where a member of the unfortunate Mills family gets Taken. But they have. In 2008, Pierre Morel delivered an action-packed film that left audiences sitting on the edge of their seats and cemented Liam Neeson’s status as a reliable hero who will do anything to get his daughter, Kim, back. I mean anything, including killing and torturing anyone he encounters in his efforts to find her.
Luckily of course he is a retired CIA operative who has “a particular set of skills that make [him] a nightmare” for those who have abducted Kim. Olivier Megaton directs the sequel and there was a lot of speculation as to whether he could deliver a jaw dropping, thrilling movie that kept Neeson’s character Bryan Mills likeable as he goes around killing everything in sight.
The result? A movie that, unfortunately, comes nowhere near the intensity of its predecessor but continually tries to do so, which makes it unrealistic and a little tiring to watch. It begins by building on the same plotline of the first movie, with the families of the Albanian men Mills slaughtered seeking revenge and therefore attempting to abduct Mills, his ex-wife Lenore (Famke Jannsen) and daughter Kim (Maggie Grace) and make them suffer.
The action takes place this time in Istanbul, a far cry from Paris the setting of Taken, where Lenore and Kim have joined Bryan, who is in the country doing security work, for a holiday. Maggie Grace has earned her screen time for this movie and performs well as the teenager desperately trying to regain some sort of normality but she rises to the occasion when Bryan and Lenore are captured. Obviously and some would say conveniently, Bryan manages to escape and spends the rest of the movie pursuing the men who still have his wife, while also trying to keep his daughter from getting shot or abducted (again).
What this film lacks is the unfolding mystery drama that Taken provided, with Mills having to work on clues and go through the chain of human traffickers that would eventually lead to his daughter. Instead, this time it seems to all happen rather quickly and the ending is far from satisfying, indeed, it is very abrupt. If you are expecting a memorable speech like the phone call from the first movie, expect away, it doesn’t happen.
It isn’t all bad though, the ending while quick does contain a good speech and a memorable scene which rounds off the Taken franchise in a sense. While I cannot envisage this film enjoying the same success as the first, I must mention that the movie was absolutely sold out so book your tickets in advance. Curiosity will drive people to go and see it if they have seen the first one and even if they haven’t. By all means, go and make your own judgement but try not to get your hopes up, it isn’t as good as the previous film and expecting it to be will only disappoint you.
*Lead image via Quickmeme