I had assumed that Taken 2 would be a disappointing sequel to the original Taken, but I was wrong. Seeing Taken 2 taught me a valuable lesson: you should never underestimate a Liam Neeson movie.
In this particular film, Liam Neeson plays the part of Brian Mills, a retired intelligence agent. In the first Taken, for those of you who haven’t seen it, Mills is forced to go on a rampage through Europe in order to save his daughter from slavers, and in the process, he kills them all. In Taken 2, the fathers of the dead slavers are out for revenge, but this time instead of Mills’ daughter being taken, Mills and his wife are taken while the family is on vacation in Istanbul.
Because Mills and his wife, Lenore, are incapacitated for a sizeable portion of the film, they have to rely on their daughter to help them escape. Their daughter’s name is Kim, and is played by an actress named Maggie Grace. The plot of the original Taken limited Grace’s screen time, but Taken 2‘s plot required Grace to be at the top of her game. She displayed that she was more than ready to embrace the larger role, as she adeptly portrayed the underdog sidekick who has to push herself to the limit in order to save the hero, her father.
The evil villain Murad is played by Rade Serbedzija. His performance level mirrored that of Neeson’s and Grace’s. He accurately depicted a tormented villain, who will only rest when his vendetta results in either his or Mills’ death. Little did he know, however, that Mills is an animal and can never be defeated. Murad got nothing more than a “better luck next time,” as all villains usually do.
Despite the above-mentioned assessments of the cast’s skill, critics were quick to denounce Taken 2, moaning about how it resembled a remake rather than a sequel. What people don’t understand about this film is that it is supposed to resemble the first Taken, hence the name, Taken 2. The directors obviously had that in mind, considering they changed the plot and setting, but not the overall concept.
I had figured that all those who went to the theatres to see Taken 2 would realize that they were about to witness Liam Neeson pull off the impossible again, using his acute mind and his deadly set of skills. To fully appreciate the movie, the viewer has to refrain from comparing the two films, and just sit back and be amused by the slick techniques Mills uses to get himself out of a jam.
For example, when Mills is captured, and brought to an unknown location, he uses a communication device hidden in his sock to get in contact with his daughter. Most of you are probably thinking that this guy is a stud already, because he is smart enough to stash things in his socks, but it gets better. Mills somehow manages to guide Kim to a pair of grenades and a gun that he had brought on the trip, and he instructs her to throw the grenades at various locations in Istanbul. When the grenades exploded, he used the sound to guide Kim to his location. Of course, while this is happening, Kim is being chased by all sorts of people, which only adds to the drama. It doesn’t get much better than that.
Not only are there tons of scenes where Mills uses his wit to outfox his enemies, but there are also multiple scenes where he uses brute force. He can take an uncanny amount of punches, and can drive a car almost as well as the Transporter. Yes, there is a car chase, and many awesome explosions, which is what every action movie viewer craves.
Overall, this movie did what it was designed to do, which was keep an audience entertained for the duration of the film, and I applaud it for that. I highly doubt that the producers wanted Taken 2 to be a ground breaking masterpiece, which it obviously wasn’t, but that doesn’t mean the film should be criticized. In my opinion, if you forget you are in the theatre while watching a movie, then it was good, and Taken 2 did just that. It was a fitting closure to Mills’ story.