It’s “taken” four years to see Liam Neeson reprise his role as maverick CIA official Bryan Mills. And again it appears that this time around, with a weekend box office harvest of nearly $ 50 million, audiences seem to be “taken too.” That’s right – Taken 2 has driven hordes of people into U.S. cinemas eager to learn about Mills’ new adventure. But does the film live up to the hype? Is it a worthy sequel? Hurry on to discover more:
Principal Cast:Liam Neeson, Maggie Grace, Famke Janssen, Leland Orser, and Rade Serbedzija
Directed by: Olivier Megaton
Written by: Luc Besson and Robert Mark Kamen
Cinematography: Romain Lacourbas
Music by: Nathaniel Méchaly
Taken 2 sees Mills seeking to bond with his daughter Kim (Maggie Grace) and former wife Lenore (Famke Janssen) on a leisurely family vacation in Istanbul. Things go horribly wrong, however, when ruthless Albanian gangsters led by kingpin Murad (Rade Serbedzija) spoil the convivial setup and kidnap Mills and Lenore. Yes, this is the same band of human traffickers who kidnapped Mills’ daughter in the original film and whose many members were eliminated by him. So this time – in a plot volte face – the original savior becomes the “taken” of the title.
The rest of the film depicts how Mills, with the help of his family, outwits the villains and emerges triumphant.
Comparisons with the predecessor are inevitable and this film nearly makes the grade. The drama, screenplay, narrative fluidity, and dialogue are not nearly as accomplished as the first film and this is a tad disappointing. Further, since Mills is the aggrieved party in this film, one misses the intensity and resilience imbued in his previous role. Also there are many story facets that defy explanation and mar the overall credibility of the film.
However Taken 2 makes amends with its appealing camera work, engaging action sequences, rousing background score, and – above all – a terrific lead performance (again) from Neeson.
As touched upon above, Olivier Megaton – barring some plot loopholes and unenergetic sequences – does a satisfactory job in this film.
Much of the earlier film’s success could be attributed to the projection of Neeson as a legitimate action star. Here he cements this status further courtesy of some pulse-pounding action scenes ably engineered by director Megaton. And fans of the genre will be delighted by the numerous chase, gunfight, fisticuff, and bombing sequences that abound throughout the movie. Moreover even the women in the cast get a chance to display their combative skills.
Fortunately Taken 2 showcases some breathtaking cinematography with the Turkish capital especially being lovingly captured. Two notable sequences include a thrill-a-second city car chase and a rigorous hand fight between Mills and the thugs. In fact, the entire film is laced with visually arresting set pieces all enhanced by the reflective, atmospheric camera work of ace photographer Romain Lacourbas.
Taken 2 is embellished with an excellent background score from composer Nathaniel Mechaly. Whole songs themselves, however, could have been utilized better in the film.
As mentioned earlier, Taken 2 is lifted by the acting talent on display, especially from Liam Neeson. He imparts character and doughtiness in the role assigned to him ultimately delivering a memorable performance. He is supported by a competent ensemble cast who assay their parts with aplomb. The only minor negative, one feels, is the underwhelming length of Famke Janssen’s character in the film.
All things considered and seen, Taken 2 is an entertaining film and – going by the audience response – that’s all that matters. Hence, the film is a ride waiting to be taken.
- How ‘Taken 3′ Could Be a Proper Conclusion to the ‘Taken’ Trilogy (screenrant.com)
- “Taken 2″ is a monumental embarrassment Giving Moviegoers the Shaft (guardianlv.com)