In Taken 2, we’re reacquainted with Neeson’s overprotective dad and former intelligence operative, Bryan Mills, who’s even more overprotective thanks to the events of the first film, where his teenage daughter Kim (Lost’s Maggie Grace) was kidnapped, drugged, and about to be sold as a sex slave. As Bryan copes with Kim’s new boyfriend (Luke Grimes) and her inability to pass her driver’s test, he invites Kim and his ex-wife Lenore (Famke Janssen) to join him on a security detail-slash-vacation in Istanbul. But soon after they arrive, the vengeful relatives of the kidnappers Bryan killed in the first Taken kidnap Bryan and Lenore, leaving Kim to elude the captors while trying to find and rescue her parents.
Let’s be honest: A large amount of the first Taken’s appeal was to watch Neeson dole out tactical and brutal revenge against the men who took his daughter. Unfortunately, he doesn’t unleash his very particular set of skills on the bad guys until the last 20 minutes of Taken 2. In the meantime, he’s telling Kim what to do via cell phone as he tries to find a way for him and Lenore to escape their captors.
There are also several scenes of incredulity that hamper the film. Neeson’s captors, who have him at gunpoint, wait until he makes and finishes a call with Kim before abducting him. Kim can’t pass her driving test, but she barrels down the narrow streets of Istanbul in a stolen taxi like Jason Bourne. The overuse of musical crescendos to tip off pivotal moments gets annoying, and a bit insulting. And much like how Taken tried to play off 25-year-old Grace as a high school student, it’s now even harder to buy 29-year-old Grace as a soon-to-be college freshman.
Despite the efforts of awesomely named director Olivier Megaton, and returning Taken co-writers Luc Besson and Robert Mark Kamen, Taken 2 is merely passable and ultimately forgettable. Bottom line, the adventure’s not the same when Neeson’s not the one who’s large and in charge.
Is it suitable for your kids?Taken 2's rated PG-13 for intense sequences of violence and action, and some sensuality.
Action/Violence: A man is tortured to gather information; there is a lot of hand-to-hand combat; many people are shot; a few people are slashed with knives. There are several intense foot chases and car chases (featuring multiple crashes).
Adult Situations: Kim makes out with her boyfriend, fully clothed.
Language: Several occurrences of “sh*t.”
Alcohol: Bryan and Lenore drink wine in one scene.
Will your FilmMother want to watch it?Nothing really for her to see here. If pressed, watch the original Taken with her for a better experience, though the theme of child abduction and the intense violence may turn her off.
That's a helluva way to skip out on the room bill.
* Director: Olivier Megaton
* Screenwriters: Luc Besson, Robert Mark Kamen
* Stars: Liam Neeson, Maggie Grace, Famke Janssen, Leland Orser, Jon Gries, D.B. Sweeney, Luke Grimes, Rade Serbedzija
* MPAA Rating: PG-13
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