There are a hundred or so puns racing through my head, and since I can’t decide on any particular one to use, we’ll have to go without. Those puns would’ve been Taken 2 far anyways, much like director Oliver Megaton takes it too far, throwing us and Liam Neeson’s Bryan Mills into Istanbul for more dangerously daughter-stealing action.
But the twist here is that it’s up to the bland and resentful Kim (Maggie Grace) to save her ex-CIA father and mother from the resentful Mirad (Rade Serbedzija). What was a nice touch is that the impact of the first movie isn’t brushed under the carpet. Unfortunately, while it’s not forgotten, it’s not capitalised on either. There’s nothing exactly interesting going on and some of the more focal action pieces are silly or ridiculously terrible.
My mind wanders to the scene where Kim starts lobbing grenades around, with Mills gauging her position based on where the explosions are. I’m sure this would’ve been a nice touch if directed correctly, but instead it comes off as benign and intrinsically stupid. Most of the action faulters too, with Neeson’s eventual escape not really offering up the eclectic highs of the original.
By far the best part of the movie is Neeson. Even with a cut screen presence, you’ll be hard pressed to find overbearing flaws in his performance, with his role being as enjoyable as ever. It’s just a shame that everything around Neeson is so flawed and awful, it really sticks him out as a good performer in a bad movie.
It’s no secret that the rarity of a good sequel is becoming ever more difficult to pull off. Evil Dead 2 is probably my most recent watch of all that indicates how to do a sequel right. But as for the action genre, and specifically Taken 2, it takes the unique charm of the original and throws it out. In its place is nothing more than unoriginal shlock that may appease those looking for brainless action. But for those wanting something that expands on the brilliance of Taken, you’ll be sorely disappointed.