When the insanely brilliant Taken was released to Box Office, Liam Neeson became THE action man. The infamous I will look for you, I will find you, and I will kill you became so legendary that Mr. Neeson now refuses to recite those exact words. Neeson who is often undervalued, proved his worth with that project but the time has come for him to fend off the bad guys once more. Taken 2 directed by Olivier Megaton and featuring the same characters as before, has taken on the grand task of not only meeting the expectations of the first movie but exceeding them.
This time the tables have turned and the Albanian’s are back to exact revenge on Bryan Mills (Neeson) after the slaughter of their men 4 years ago. It can only get better right, wrong, well not quite. Immediately it was obvious that Taken 2 was going to be different. The first scene showing the murdered Albanian thugs burial should be dark and full of foreboding but instead is comical as the audience watch the head of the gang wave his fist, promising revenge. Over in L.A, Mills, Lenore (Famke Janssen) his ex-wife and daughter Kim (Maggie Grace) are seemingly playing happy families, despite Lenore’s current deteriorating marriage. The precision and anal qualities of Neeson’s character are ridiculed from the minute he steps out of his car. Previously it was a specific set of skills that made him ‘the man,’ but not this time. Working in Istanbul on a job, Mills invites the two over for an impromptu family vacation. Hoping for fun in the sun and to maybe rekindle his relationship with Lenore, the last thing Mills expects is to recognise one of the Albanian sex trafficers in the lobby of his hotel. And the ˜fun’ begins…
Neeson who continually came across as a cringe-worthy character could have then tried to redeem himself with the quick-witted spark he had in Taken. Instead it seems the writers (including perennial underachiever Luc Besson) and director Megaton let him down doubly when putting together the script and secquencing of the film. Neeson tried to reclaim some of the drama and tension but it just simply fell flat. Taken 2 as a film failed him unlike before.
Famke Janssen is, unfortunately not even worth mentioning, having only stared in around 15 minutes of the total film while Maggie Grace was the same “teen” but with a little more sex appeal. She’s a little old to be playing a teenager, but the sex appeal is necessary to the plot strand of her being sold as a sex slave, meaning this is apparently, acceptable. This time it’s her turn to step up and save her parents, in one of THE most farcical run of events ever seen in film history. Maggie Grace is a gorgeous women yet her acting ability is a little under-developed and ultimately wasted.
Taken 2 isn’t in the same stratosphere as Taken, which is blamed on the director completely. Olivier Megaton simply got it wrong. The concept and feeling from the previous film was not relayed into this. It was absurd and silly in many parts, instead of being a dark, intense and threatening action/thriller.
What made Taken truly cruel was that the whole concept could be true. Many girls and women are abducted every year and sold into horrendous situations. Taken 2 had no weight behind the content, it was almost embarrassing to watch. Sorry Liam, its bad, really bad.