Movie Review: Taken 2 by Jason Burleson

Taken 2 is the follow up to 2008’s action thriller Taken starring Liam Neeson (Star Wars: Episode I).  The original follows a very Bond-like motif, filled with fast paced action and constant bad guy thwarting.  The film follows Bryan Mills, a retired CIA operative, who has quit the spy game in order to spend more time with his teenage daughter and has begun a new career as a security consultant.  His daughter Kim (Maggie Grace, Knight and Day) is kidnapped and Bryan begins a rescue driven, seemingly unstoppable pursuit of hunting down the men who took her.  Taken 2 continues this same story line a year after he is able to recover his daughter.

Taken 2 finds Bryan still detached from his family but slowly gaining ground on making amends with both his daughter and his ex-wife Lenore(Famke Janssen, X-Men), as she sees them reconnecting.   She confides in him about her current relationship troubles and he comforts her.  Afterwards, he travels to Istanbul, finishing up a security job. While he suggests they come visit to relax and take their minds off things, he remains content that their relationships are better and doesn’t get his hopes up. However, they end up surprising him in Istanbul, and they decide to make a vacation out of it.  Meanwhile, Rade Šerbedžija, the leader of the Albanian mafia, whose son was killed by Bryan in Taken 1, plots to kidnap and murder Bryan’s family in order to enact revenge for his sons and lost brethren.  The holiday turns sour for Bryan, but he is able to secure his daughter Kim by sacrificing himself and Lenore. The rest of the film continues in an attempt to escape using his operative skills, obsessive compulsion for details, and grit while trying to save Kim and Lenore.

Let me begin by saying I absolutely loved the first Taken movie so this follow up was highly anticipated. I’m also aware that that movie has a huge cult following and played a huge part in making Liam Neeson a highly revered action hero.  That being said, Taken 2 completely met all of my expectations.  Both films were produced by Luc Besson and written by Robert Mark Kamen and Luc Besson.  They follow the same action packed, gut retching, fast paced rollercoaster of a thrill ride story line. However, Taken 2 was given a new director, Olivier Megaton (awesome name btw), and this movie has a much more industrial feel.  I think it helped the movement of the film and allowed the audience to really feel like they were Bryan.  I don’t think there is a single person out there, at least of male gender, who hasn’t pretended at some point to be a spy hero reminiscent 007.  The action/fight scenes are fast and smooth, making Neeson’s character appear to have the ability to overpower despite any odds.  Likewise, this movie is gripping and makes you yearn for the safety of the Mills family.

The movie follows a series of ups and downs that play with this emotion which I think will leave audiences satisfied.  There were some minor plot points I didn’t understand, but the film moves so fast you hardly notice them.  I foresee this series having the potential to become a very strong series and could be as successful as the Bourne Franchise if it doesn’t get cheesy and predictable.  Neeson’s calm, confident demeanor in the most stressful situations makes him a perfect hero and matched up with his unforgiving focus, making him a total badass.  You get absolutely everything you expect in this film.

After seeing this movie, I can’t wait for a third film. I haven’t heard news of one yet but I’m sure if this film makes any money at all there will be one.  There were tons of plot points they could follow in order to do so.  Besides, who doesn’t enjoy a bunch of bad guys getting beat up? Put that in front of me and I will always ask for more.

I give Taken 2 3 “grenades” out of 5.

by Jason Burleson

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