When news broke that filmmakers had a script for a sequel to the 2008 hit Taken, it made me happy. Little did I realize how wrong I was about the thriller that not only gave its audience a noble hero and fabulous action sequences, but also nuances of truth.
Taken 2 (2012) Film Review
Time passes and Kim (Maggie Grace) tries to figure out how to be “normal” after nearly being sold into a high-class sex trafficking ring. She doesn’t have a clue how to go about it but her definition doesn’t include her ex-CIA father, Bryan (Liam Neeson) showing up on her boyfriend’s doorstep demanding she keep their weekly driving lesson. Soon Bryan’s attentions shift to his ex-wife, Lenore (Famke Janssen), who is separating from her wealthy husband.
On a whim, Bryan invites his ex and daughter to join him in Istanbul. He has a three-day job working security but after that, he plans to enjoy some relaxing sight-seeing. Lenore and Kim surprise Bryan and the three of them enjoy a wonderful escape from worry over divorce proceedings. Only then, the same men Bryan hunted in his search for Kim, capture Lenore. To protect her, he surrenders, but not before he makes a call to Kim.
Writing a sequel to something that does well in theaters can be something that conforms to its “parent” title. Most of the time, writer’s fall into a trap of essentially writing a different scenario of the first film. Legitimately this is true of this follow-up. I cannot speak for how everyone will react, but this movie is equally as dynamic as the first; I may like it a little more than its predecessor. Maybe. What this does lack is the same emotional impact because in essence, it’s not as emotionally unstable. Not counting the possibility of making you dizzy, the opening titles and first few minutes is good.
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The film not only sets up to be a “new” story but mostly it’s a snazzy re-cap of what happens in Taken without boring us with all the minuscule details. There’s some fantastically good breath-catching scenes (no hint of bad special effects here) epitomize the phrase, “only at the movies,” but it does nothing to distort our anxiety that everything will end well. Fortunately, it does.
So much about Taken 2 is worth rooting for. There isn’t as much of a heart-tugging relationship between Kim but Bryan’s sole purpose is still to see she’s safe. A wise choice in the script as the poor girl has already been through more than any teenager should. Two of my favorite scenes are the car chase and seeing Kim channeling her inner Jason Bourne, and really, it was awesome as she leaps from rooftops and becomes less of a happy-go-lucky girl and one bent on seeing her parent’s safe return.
I empathize with the character of Kim in her bid to start over. Again Grace does a great job with Kim, tapering her giggly happiness (understandably). The one actor who never disappoints, Neeson again makes us applaud his actions and wish that more heroes were as upstanding as Bryan Mills. By the time you walk out of the theater, you may wear a silly smile but you sure won’t feel disappointed.
You can find Taken 2 digitally on Amazon Video
Content: Dozens of men die in various ways, by every means possible from gunshot wounds to getting their necks snapped; the climax scene is perhaps the most intense as Bryan engages in his final fight and both men are beaten badly. Lenore is cut and chained up. There is one car chase sequence that is the standard barrage of flipping cars, explosions and the like. Profanity consists of several uses of sh*t and other commonplace profanities. Kim is seen making out with her boyfriend [his hand travels up her blouse and he fiddles with the tie of it]. The rating is PG13.