Taken 2 Review
Release date September 8, 2012
MPAA Rating: PG-13
Runtime: 91 Minutes
Director: Oliver Megaton
Studio: Film District
Stars: Liam Neeson, Famke Janssen, and Maggie Grace
Rating 3 out 5. If you liked the first one, give it a watch!
We all know the premise of the original Taken, Liam Neeson’s daughter is taken and he tears a bloody, murderous path through the men responsible until he gets her back. When I heard that there was a sequel in the works, and that it’s Mom that gets kidnapped this time, I let out a little groan. Taken 2 is not simply a contrived retread of this idea, but rather a continuation of the story in the aftermath of the first movie. One year later, the families of the men he murdered in the first film are ready to take their revenge, and it is all three of the family members being targeted.
Like I implied earlier, I did not have high hopes for this movie. I loved the first one, and could not possibly see how they could have a sequel. I was pleasantly surprised with this one. While the motivations of the bad guys are not the most rational, it at least comes across as believable. This movie doesn’t insult your intelligence, and assumes you have seen the first film to have a better grip on what’s going on. It also has the opportunity to show Bryan’s (The father) mindset and behavior that makes his actions taken later that much more believable.
The movie has a bit of a stumble in the beginning, as it can’t decide what tone it wants, and will rapidly switch between dire seriousness and light hearted funny. The movie knows you’re waiting for the moment that they will be taken, and savors the build-up. The movie really hits its stride at that point and it’s non-stop action the rest of the way. The same people are behind the writing in this one as the first, but we got a new director. Oliver Megaton fills in that chair and, to his credit, he keeps the action true to the original. Megaton was the director behind Transporter 3, and I was immensely happy to see none of the over the top ridiculousness that ruined the Transporter series. Liam Neeson is at the top of his game, and is just as awesome as ever. Famke Janssen and Maggie Grace are good in their roles, and are not just regulated to be damsels in distress.
Overall, Taken 2 exceeds the low expectations and is a decent sequel to the original. Don’t expect it to have entirely the same punch, and don’t see it until you’ve seen the original. The best thing I can say about it is the audience in the theater applauded a few great moments, myself included. Don’t hold your breath for a Taken 3, as Bryan is running out of immediate family.