TAKEN 2 (Olivier Megaton, 2012)
rescuing his daughter Kim (Maggie Grace) from human traffickers in
TAKEN, former CIA operative Bryan Mills (Liam Neeson) dedicates himself
to being there for her, whether she needs him or not, in TAKEN 2. Given
what they went through in Europe, he’s justified in playing the role of
the overprotective father. These days he’s overseeing her driving
lessons and, at the drop of a hat, tracking down Kim to her boyfriend’s
place despite having been unaware that she’s dating anyone.
heroics in the previous film appear to have improved his relationship
with ex-wife Lenore (Famke Janssen), who’s now on the verge of a split
from her wealthy husband. When a tearful Lenore tells Bryan about her
crumbling marriage, he asks her and Kim to join him for some rest and
relaxation in Istanbul after he’s done with a job there.
accept his invitation, but Albanian toughs interrupt the Mills family
vacation. Led by Murad Krasniqi (Rade Serbedzija), they seek revenge on
Bryan for killing their kin, friends, and colleagues when he rescued
Kim in Paris. Before Bryan and Lenore are abducted, he calls his
daughter with instructions for how she can get to safety and help her
mom and dad escape their captors.
the TV series 24, the attraction of TAKEN and its sequel are heroes who
can brush aside bad guys with ruthless efficiency and display crack
improvisational skills to wiggle out of any number of jams. 24 and the
TAKEN films envision a hostile and untrustworthy caricature of a world
that is best protected by a paternal figure with government connections
and extralegal means at his disposal. Both Kiefer Sutherland’s Jack
Bauer and Neeson’s Bryan even have daughters named Kim. The
disappointment of TAKEN 2 is how long it takes to wind up and deliver
Neeson in all his throat-punching and arm-breaking glory. Enough with
all the family theatrics already. Let’s see Neeson bring the pain.
the unexpectedness of watching Neeson be so merciless has worn off
because TAKEN 2 plays as though it’s going through the motions when he
finally gets to take on his enemies. Director Olivier Megaton
competently captures the action and fight scenes, but the results bear
little difference from dozens of similar films producer and
co-screenwriter Luc Besson’s production company has churned out. Neeson
is a charismatic actor who cuts an imposing figure, but this repeat
lacks the vitality and novelty.
its best scenes the sequel briefly reverses Bryan and Kim’s roles. The
security expert becomes someone who needs to be found, and the daughter
turns into the rescuer, even if she’s merely following her dad’s
detailed guidance. The clever, if dubious, method of helping to
pinpoint one’s unknown location with a hidden cell phone, a city map, a
marker, a shoelace, and a few grenades brings a pleasing MACGYVER-like
touch, although the achievement is also due to some of the least
attentive abductors ever.
problem in making Bryan the abducted is that TAKEN 2 lacks the
immediacy and dramatic stakes of the rampage he goes on in TAKEN to save
his daughter. Obviously Bryan is more than capable of taking care of
himself. His ex-wife needs to be saved this time around, but her plight
does not seem urgent for any significant stretches. With lowered
concerns, TAKEN 2 is content to play out as a familiar and lesser
version of its predecessor.