Last time they took his daughter, this time they’ve taken Liam Neeson himself along with his wife. You don’t take Liam Neeson. He’ll take you for a ride.
Taken was an intense thrill ride with Liam Neeson going around murdering every Albanian who got in his way to save his daughter from being forced into a life of prostitution. Taken 2 is all about revenge, and so the father of one of the many dead sends his goons out to find Neeson and his family so he can achieve this. Neeson isn’t a fan of this whole revenge thing though, so once getting out of his initial pickle, he goes round Istanbul to shoot down some more so he can save his daughter and ex-wife. It’s what everyone came to see, so I doubt anyone will walk out disappointed that he didn’t try to break the revenge cycle by talking to these villains.
Taken 2’s action doesn’t deliver on the same level as the original though, each fight scene flickers on by like a notepad animation so you can’t get a real sense of all that murdering going on. It’s to keep it a 12a, and any exciting torture scenes have been torn out of the torso making certain moments confusing as it all flies by. The rating is to get more viewers, more money, and it is clear that’s all these guys want as the film meanders along with no threat, no originality, no badass quotes and no feeling. It’s come off an assembly line, built by film executives and marketing robots.
The big problem is how easy it all is for Neeson. He seems to be a psychic this time round, the whole of Istanbul mapped in his head, and he knows exactly what to do in any given situation. One particular highlight is when he asks his daughter to toss some grenades so he can figure out where he. No one seems to care that a few explosions are going off and Neeson can calculate the range perfectly as his daughter tosses each one with a perfect swing. I chuck a grenade every time I’m trying to meet my friends, but I’m experienced in the art of grenade throwing.
Taken 2 is stupid, safe and will probably make a lot of money. The way it shifts into a friendly family comedy when everything is okay suggests Taken 3 will probably be a pleasant romp with Neeson going off to take his daughter back from her boyfriend with lots of wacky family feuds in between. Or the boyfriend takes her virginity and he goes off to take it back. No.