Starring: Liam Neeson, Famke Janssen, Maggie Grace
You may like this if you liked: Taken (Pierre Morel, 2008), Lockout (James Mather and Stephen St. Leger), The Transporter (Louis Lotterier and Corey Yuen)
While working in Istanbul, Ex CIA agent Bryan Mills (Neeson) invites his estranged wife (Janssen) and daughter (Grace) to join him for the couple of spare days he has after working. However, obviously things go wrong when the father of one of the men Neeson killed in the first film swears vengeance and Mills and his wife are you guessed it, taken! Now Mills must rely on not only his ‘skills’, but the help of his daughter to escape and take down all the generic eastern European bad guys. Still, at least he doesn’t have to hunt them down or find them to kill them all this time!
I personally really enjoyed Taken, though by no means particularly original, it knew its place and was an incredibly entertaining film. It was essentially a well made action film with Neeson actually being an extremely believable hard man. This was indeed a massive (surprise) hit and so a sequel was inevitable, and here it is, still with Luc Besson and Liam Nesson involved and a bigger budget.
Despite all this Taken 2 is an absolute car crash, I was genuinely shocked at how bad it actually was. I have been accused quite rightly in the past of being a snob when it comes to action movies, but like I said, I really enjoyed Taken, but Taken 2 is appallingly bad and simply does not work on so many levels. Even Battleship (Peter Berg, 2012) had some redeeming features in that it was so bad it was funny, but there is nothing here. I am happy to forgive plot holes and very silly plots in this genre, but Taken 2 really takes the biscuit.
This film is a perfect example of the laziness and complacency that exists in the film industry and actually insults the intelligence of the very people that fund it, the viewer. Because the first film made so much money and the same big names are attached to the sequel, those making it appear to feel they don’t even have to bother with what great film making actually is, such as telling a good story with good dialogue, good acting and some actual effort going in to the action sequences. I did actually feel genuinely insulted that I gave up ninety minutes of my life watching it.
Taken 2 almost works better as a spoof as I must confess there were moments I did genuinely laugh, and with that I mean at the film and not with it. Most daft action films at least contain some sense of humour and element of tongue in cheek dialogue, but it is all humourless straight wooden faces throughout the entire narrative here. Neeson himself, as well as looking really bored looks like he does not want to be here and all he can think about is his pay cheque. The unfortunate fact is that despite receiving consistently bad reviews Taken 2 did extremely well at the cinema and has sold very well since its retail release, I will leave people to make their own conclusions from this. All I can say is this is not even a good drunk film!
In summary, Taken 2 is an indescribably disappointingly and shockingly bad film with no good attributes at all, best to avoid it completely. For a much better recent Luc Besson action film I would recommend Lockout or indeed just watch Taken again.