In 2009, Taken viewers were introduced to Bryan Mills (played by Liam Neeson), a retired CIA agent who uses his skills to retrieve her 17-year-old daughter when she and a friend were taken by Albanian human-trafficking operators during her trip to Paris. Taken is a great action film and, although at first it received mixed reviews, the film has been stated as the turning point in Neeson’s career, when he started becoming viewed as the ultimate action-film star.
Tomorrow the film’s sequel will open in theatres everywhere. Taken 2, starring the same three actors as the lead roles—Neeson, Maggie Grace as his daughter, Kim and Famke Janssen as his ex-wife, Lenore. Luc Besson produced and wrote both films, whereas Pierre Morei directed the first, and Olivier Megaton directed the second. Megaton directed 2008’s Transporter 3 and 2011’s Colombiana.
Taken 2 takes places a year after the events in Paris, while Bryan is on a trip in Istanbul. When Lenore and Kim make a surprise visit, the trip implodes. The father and people working for Murad Hoxha, the man in charge of the building where Kim’s friend was found dead in Taken, take Lenore and threaten to take Kim, so she takes off running. Once again, Mills must utilize his skills in order to save the women in his life.
Critics, professional and common alike have been skeptical about the making of Taken 2. Although viewers are guaranteed some awesome action-packed moments from Neeson’s character, the same questions keep popping up: What will make this film any different from the first? Better yet, why would Kim dare to leave the US again?
The Hollywood New’s critic Dan Bullock began his review with the statement, “Taken 2 is everything you don’t want from a follow up.” Bullock writes that, although viewers already know the characters Taken 2 presents to us, the film’s producers tried to teach us about Mill’s emotional backstory. “For all the flash, fight and balls of the first, Taken 2 decides to make us care about the characters, but this isn’t necessary.”
The 20/20 Filmsight blog at movecritic.com posts, “Taken 2 is as perfunctory as it is depressing, with a scant, predictable plot whose reduction might be legibly displayed on the back of a matchbook: revenge, that is all.” The writer then goes on to criticize Neeson’s recent career, throwing in “…you have to admit that the imposing Neeson is worth watching.”
For the sake of the original film, hopefully Taken 2 will get a better response from the box office. It seems agreed that the film will have one aspect holding it up—the moves of Neeson.
By Danielle Taus