When reviewing a film like Taken 2 I feel like I have to take off my nit-picky critic hat and put on my movie fan hat because there is a certain level of expectation that comes with a sequel such as this. The first film, which came out four years ago, was a surprise smash hit with audiences everywhere and I would imagine that anyone who enjoyed it will definitely want to see the followup.
Liam Neeson was superb as Bryan Mills, the ex CIA agent with his "particular set of skills" who must rescue his kidnapped daughter from being sold into sex slavery in Paris. He was completely bad-ass in the role and the movie was filled with a ton of action and excitement. In short, it was a really fun ride.
Taken 2 begins with Bryan showing up at his ex-wife Lenore's (Famke Janssen) place in order to give his daughter Kim (Maggie Grace) a driving lesson. Kim is not there and Bryan finds out that she has secretly been seeing a new boyfriend. While discussing matters with Lenore, he realizes that her marriage is on the rocks and heading towards a break up. Bryan has to go on a business trip to Istanbul for a few days and he invites his ex and daughter to join him there. Also in Istanbul at the same time is an Albanian crime boss (played by the always reliable Rade Serbedzija), who happens to be the father of one of the kidnappers that Bryan killed in the first film. He of course wants revenge so he orders his henchmen to kidnap Mills and his family.
The rest of the film follows the same basic formula as in the first one except that this time Bryan and Lenore are taken and Kim escapes. Kim must now find a way to help her parents with the aid of her father, who just happens to have a well hidden cell phone that he can use to call her and guide her with. By the way, I have to say that these are the worst henchmen that money can buy if they can't even search a captive well enough to find a phone hidden in his pants. At this point the film pretty much goes into overdrive as there is plenty of chasing, shooting, exploding, running, and car crashing to fulfill the typical action movie quota.
Directed by Olivier Megaton (Transporter 3, Colombiana) in a relentlessly frantic style, Taken 2 is ridiculously implausible if you actually take a moment to stop and think about what is happening from scene to scene and you could easily just laugh at its stupidity. But that would be if you were wearing your nit-picky critic hat.
Thankfully, I was wearing my movie fan hat and I enjoyed Taken 2 for what it was. It's an edge of your seat action thriller with a main character that I really like. Sure it's more of the same, but that's not always such a bad thing. Liam Neeson is dependable as always and while it may not be anywhere near as good as the original it's still fairly enjoyable. I would equate it to being like comfort food, or a guilty pleasure if you will.
If you're a fan of Taken then I doubt there will be much convincing required for you to see this film. Just sit back, turn your brain off for 90 minutes and have a good time.
I give Taken 2 a 6 out of 10.