Written by Phil Cerroni
By Matt Mungle
Title: Taken 2
The filmmakers spent little time working on a title for the new action thriller sequel to Taken. They made it Taken 2 and called it a day. The original film was widely accepted and was a fairly decent time in the theater. There is no doubt that in this one someone is going to get taken; let's just hope it isn't the movie goers.
Former CIA operative Bryan Mills (Liam Neeson) is the target this time around when the father (Rade Serbedzija) of one of the bad guys killed in the first film sets out for revenge. Bryan, his daughter Kim (Maggie Grace) and his ex wife Lenore (Famke Janssen) are in Istanbul trying to get in a few days of relaxation when they are snatched up by the Albanian mobsters. Bryan must once again use his "skills" to save his family from certain peril and put an end to all of this.
It is safe to say that this one follows closely to the template that made Taken a success. The tension is felt from the very beginning and you sort of know what is coming. This keeps you on the edge of your seat and locks you in from the start. There is nothing surprising about the story yet the suspense is still felt. Neeson is the same "cool under pressure" op that made his character powerful in the original. Here is a guy that is an overprotective dad and with OCD tendencies. He will do anything to protect his family and luckily has the ability.
This story takes place in Istanbul which adds a nice backdrop for the car chases and rooftop escapades. It is colorful and crowded with narrow streets and dark alleys. The cast work great together and Janssen gets a little more screen time in this one though she is never more than a damsel in distress. Grace is back too and luckily they don't allow her character to do too much in the area of impossibility. Neeson on the other hand carries the entire film, as you would expect, and he doesn't disappoint.
Taken 2 is a slick action thriller that delivers on every level. Fans of the first one will take to this one as well. It doesn't try to recreate the wheel, but allows it to turn as it should. It is rated PG-13 for intense sequences of violence and action, and some sensuality. The main concern for those who shy away from violence is the body count. Tons of gun fire and fisticuffs will make action fans drool but will be overwhelming for the weaker vessels. Strong characters and expert direction help propel this one into a fun fall outing.
I give it 4 out of 5 tiny phones. Again you can base your reaction to the first one on how you will feel about this sequel. It is easily as good if not slightly better in some areas. And the best part is you really don't have to have seen the first one at all to get in on the action.
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