“I don’t know who you are. I don’t know what you want. If you are looking for a good movie, I can tell you I don’t have one. But what I do have are a very particular set of skills; skills I acquired in the first movie in this series, and then was forced to abandon the acting skills I had honed over a very long career. If you stop coming to these movies now, that’ll be the end of it. I can move on, I will not have to make another one. But if you do come to this, and I wind up making Taken 3, I will find you, and I will kill you.”
“Taken 2” picks up shortly after the events of “Taken”. Bryan Mills (Liam Neeson) has returned home to the States, and has brought his daughter (Maggie Grace) home safely, as well. Their current level of difficulty amounts to the fact that she has a new boyfriend, and is having trouble passing her driver’s test. They’re safe. Her mother (Famke Janssen) is separating from the man she married after she divorced from Bryan, leaving the door open for a potential reconciliation.
What none of them are aware of is that the head of the crime organization that Mills decimated in the first movie is bent on revenge. His son was amongst those that Mills murdered in order to save his daughter.
So when Mills accepts a security assignment in Turkey, and his daughter and ex-wife surprise him with an unannounced, spontaneous, international visit, suddenly all of the eggs are in one basket. Mills and his family are set upon by an endless stream of hapless, disposable, low-level, Turkish thugs.
It’s a reasonable excuse to set Neeson up with a new string of bad guys to kill. The revenge part at least. The fact that his ex-wife and daughter:
- Know where his security detail abroad is
- Could get there without his assistance, and quickly
- Would want to go visit him abroad after the trauma his daughter experienced
- Wouldn’t get immediately sent home by him, especially since they try to establish how overprotective he is now
strains credulity to say the least. Lame, I believe, is the word. I would say that I would have prefered that they had the bad guys come seek the family in America, but that would deprive the film of its strongest asset, which is sadly, the setting.
Finally, the film lacks that “Holy Shit, Liam Neeson is a badass!” surprise element. The first movie was propelled in large part due to the fact that that was a role we couldn’t imagine him in. We’ve seen his action schtick now, though, it’s no longer new. This time we’re left to judge it on its own merits, and truthfully, the action here isn’t very good. For the most part it’s spliced to hell in order to protect Neeson’s lack of actual martial arts ability. The car chases are relatively nondescript as well.
It’s not entirely without merits, it’s always entertaining to hear Neeson giving instructions and/or orders with his Bryan Mills voice. But that’s only going to get you so far. What you’re left with afterwards is a middling action movie, stemming from a sub par setup.