Taken 2

WRITTEN BY: Luc Besson, Robert Mark Kamen
DIRECTED BY: Olivier Megaton
STARRING: Liam Neeson, Maggie Grace, Famke Janssen, Rade Serbedzija
RATING: 3 stars

I think Taken II writers, Luc Besson and Robert Mark Kamen, watched too many MacGyver episodes to draw inspiration for this sequel. In one scene, Liam Neeson's character enlists the help of his daughter to use a map, a shoelace and grenades which she detonates around Istanbul so he can figure out where he is being held captive. Yes, that's right, this time Neeson's character is kidnapped. The film is ridiculous and cringeworthy at times. However, it is also fun, humorous and action packed. If you're like me, and would watch Neeson kick arse any day, then maybe you will get something out of this film.

In Taken, retired CIA agent Bryan Mills (Liam Neeson) killed every bad guy in his way as he travelled the world to save his 17-year-old daughter Kim (Maggie Grace) who was kidnapped in Paris by Albanians wanting to sell her into prostitution. In Taken II, Murad (Rade Serbedzija), the father of one of the kidnappers killed by Mills in the original film, has sworn revenge and takes Mills and his ex-wife Lenore (Famke Janssen) hostage during their family trip to Istanbul. Mills enlists Kim's help to plan his escape and save his ex-wife.

I have several problems with this film. Firstly, it's so painfully lame and had such ridiculous dialogue that it forced decent actors to act badly. Secondly, Grace is 29-years-old. She should not be playing a teenager. Thirdly, Olivier Megaton's style of directing during the action scenes involved jumpy camera work and messy editing, which made it difficult to see what was happening. Finally, and most annoyingly, the film has a very weak love story between the former husband and wife. It's like an action version of The Parent Trap.

Having said that, you have to accept Taken II for what it is - a mindless, fun action film. Let's not forget that Liam Neeson is 60 and yet he is still a believable tough guy. He's also incredibly charismatic, which makes me wonder if the film could be entertaining without him because the script is so awful. Janssen has a thankless role and spends most of her time screaming "No!" while Serbedzija's character is surprisingly underdeveloped. He is good at playing the bad guy, but has little to work with in Taken II. Despite my criticism of Grace's age being inappropriate for the role, her performance is actually quite good. The setting of Istanbul is also quite lovely and the music is great.

I've probably been a bit harsh on this film in some areas, but I think I've also been kind in my star rating. Taken II is not a good film, but it is a fun film. You'll laugh, you'll enjoy seeing Neeson shoot everyone and beat up the bad guys, and you'll leave the cinema satisfied that you just spent about 90 minutes not having to think at all.


  1. Nice Review! 3 stars has brightened my hopes, I will be seeing it tomorrow :)


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