Liam Neeson returns as Bryan Mills, a man with a specific set of skills, in Taken 2. Picking up shortly after the events of the first film which saw him rescue his daughter, Kim (Maggie Grace) from traffickers, Mills, his ex-wife, Lenore (Famke Janssen), and Kim find themselves targeted by the deceased’s father, Murad (Rade Serbedzija).
On a business trip to Istanbul, Bryan is joined by his family, which is trying to reconnect, only to have himself and Lenore taken. He has time enough to warn Kim what is happening, and then is able to guide her to them to help him escape, and then return, with a vengeance for Lenore.
What follows is a fast-paced action thriller that lets Neeson settle easily into a character type he’s cultivated since the first film and has taken on in a variety of other films since. But that’s okay, cause it’s fun to watch Neeson delivering hard-edged dialogue, and knowing the baddies have bitten off more than they can chew by going up against him.
I like the entire main cast, and I like the chemistry Neeson shares with Janssen and Grace, there’s a real sense of connection and history there, and Serbedzija, no matter how he plays, always comes across as embodying that character.
The locations are gorgeous, and the stunt team is on point throughout the film. Unfortunately, all of these things feel so easily dispensible now (they aren’t, but there are so many high-profile action films, not to mention the lesser ones, that it’s tough for certain titles, franchises, or actors to stand out).
Taken 2, like its predecessor, is a fun action movie, that feels like popcorn entertainment. You know you saw it, and you know Neeson was awesome with his specific set of skills, but does it stick with you. Sadly no.
That’s not to say there aren’t great things at work on and off camera, Luc Besson and Robert Mark Kamen, who penned the first film came back to write the second, so the voices are the same from one film to the next, there’s no jarring changes in character or abilities. The sequel builds on the pieces of the first film to tell its story, and it shows there has been some growth since the events of the first film, but everyone is recognizable.
He remains a fantastic actor and performer, and he imbues his characters with humour, and his gravelly voice gives everything a dangerous edge.
I quite enjoy these films, but as soon as they are done, I don’t recall what happened in them except for the broad points. Maybe that’s another reason I don’t mind revisiting them.