Robyn Morrison reviews the sequel action thriller, Taken 2
Since its release in 2008, Taken has grown a cult following and is known by many as the film that reinvented Liam Neeson as one of Hollywood’s top action film stars, despite being made with a meagre budget and receiving mixed reviews at the time. The sequel follows on from the story of former CIA operative Bryan Mills, whose daughter is abducted by Albanian sex traffickers while travelling around Europe. In a twist to the original plot, this time it is the daughter who is fighting to save her parents, as the father and brothers of the kidnappers slaughtered by Bryan in the first franchise seek revenge.
The family’s misfortune strikes again while Bryan, his ex-wife Lenore and their daughter Kim are on a reconciliatory trip to Istanbul. Tracked down by the chief of the Albanian Mafia and his men, Bryan and ‘Lennie’ are taken hostage and it is left to Kim to listen to her father’s unique instructions to get the family to safety and kill the kidnappers one-by-one, stopping them seeking revenge for good. Liam Neeson proves why he’s one of the finest movie actors on the silver screen and, despite turning 60 this year, has thrown himself into the high octane scenes to deliver the thrilling action the fans want to see. Sadly, Taken 2 does not quite hit the same mark as the original film; however with the slick action sequences and car chases, it still makes for an entertaining hour and a half. For those who are familiar with the speech given by Neeson in the first film, in which he begins “What I do not have is money…” may also be left underwhelmed by the lack of such an emotive script in this follow-up.
In trying to cash-in on the success of the first film, the filmmakers have attempted to elaborate on the original plot to the point of making an entirely unnecessary sequel, with disjointed plot lines and, at points, cringingly-cheesy acting. For those seeking a spot of Sunday night escapism, this can be an entertaining way to spend an evening on the sofa. But for die-hard fans of the original it might be worth a miss or a lowering of expectations to avoid disappointment.