(Action, PG-13 93 minutes)
If a man can order the release of the Kraken and fight off wolves in below-zero temperatures, you might not want to mess with him. In “Taken 2,” the villains did not heed this advice.
Just as Diane Keaton, Ellen Barkin and even Susan Lucci have shown that youth is not always preferred in Hollywood, Neeson proves this for the men in countless action films such as “The A-Team” and “The Grey” as well other such as “Clash of the Titans.”
In the first film, Bryan Mills (Neeson) travels to Europe when his daughter, Kim (Maggie Grace), is captured by men involved in the sex trade business. Using his CIA background, Mills tracks down the perpetrators in a bloody, violent chase until he rescues his daughter.
Revenge is the premise in this sequel. While the families of the dead are tracking Bryan from Istanbul, he is busy in California trying to teach Kim to drive and scare off her new boyfriend. He and his ex-wife Lenore (Famke Janssen) are cordial to each other. When Bryan learns her estranged second husband has canceled a family trip to China, he extends an invitation to Istanbul — the site of his next assignment.
All the pieces are in place for the inevitable. The men take their orders, then their places, as they plan to capture the family. Bryan is who they crave, but Lenore and Kim are the bait.
However, the skilled ex-agent is always two steps ahead of the enemy and is quick to give his ex-wife and daughter instructions for their safety. Although fear immediately steps in, everyone knows how this will end. (You’d think this family would stay at home, but I digress.)
The best part about the first film was the unknown. Watching Neeson in action kept me on the edge of my seat. In this film, it seemed as if everything happened too quickly. Even blindfolded, the character could map out the route of his characters, so there is no guesswork necessary. When he escapes — which you know he will — he is going to use his Spidey sense to kill everybody.
Now, now, I didn’t spoil this movie for you. I mean, how else can there be “Taken 3?” Hopefully this won’t happen though, because then he will be saving his grandchildren, and no one wants to see that.
The action in this film was dizzying. Of course stunt men were used, but I think a lot of it was an effort to cover up Neeson’s lack of force in some of the scenes. In a hail of bullets from automatic weapons, he can fire a pistol and kill everybody in the room. However, the fight scenes were less impressive. He seemed like an old man, which is a shame because Neeson is so good in these types of films.
I don’t think “Taken” needed a sequel because its fervor is hard to replace. Also, there were some scenes between
Bryan and Kim that felt like a corny afterschool special.
But people who like Neeson and his films won’t mind it. They know what to expect — a basic action film, rehashing the first with a few extra things. Just don’t rush to see it.