Director: Olivier Megaton
Starring: Liam Neeson, Maggie Grace, Famke Janssen, Rade Serbedzija
Release Date: Out now
Feel like your being taken for a ride at the multiplex? Take a break, and take in this nerve-tackling thriller that takes no liberties and takes fewer prisoners, and it’ll take your breath away, leaving you shaking and taking stock of your take take take.
Opening with swooping shots of the bleak Albanian countryside, Taken 2 attempts to continue the story of where its 2008 prequel, Taken, left off. At a funeral for the men killed by Bryan Mills (Liam Neeson) in their local village Anonymousshittytownistan, mob patriarch Murad (Rade Serbedzija) swears he will have vengeance for the murder of his son at Liam Neeson’s manicured hands.
We are re-introduced to Mills’ ideal American life, his former wife Lenore (Famke Janssen) and daughter Kim (Maggie Grace), and there may as well be a large ticking clock with ‘disaster coming in’ written in large neon letters; the hypothetical countdown is only expedited by the family’s excellent choice to travel to Istanbul for no evident reason. Needless to say, everyone is taken, and Liam Neeson must don his action hero, non-Oscar Schindler hat and lay down the continual smack.
Playing somewhat against action-movie type, great effort is made to give the antagonists a meaningful and understandable motivation. However, unless you happen to sympathise with the poor young pimps that are forced to take to the business of selling women as sex slaves to earn a living, then you’ll probably take the side of Mills.
Unlike Taken, the sequel is missing a standout, memorable quote for its droves of fans to take and glorify. The one brief mention of the title, “Your mother and I have been taken,” merely makes you feel that everyone involved in the production was aware of the laughable nature of the subject matter.
Although Taken 2 lacks sufficient quotable material, it does provide some unforgettable moments, which if taken out of the movie’s predominantly non-Western environments, would be classed as significant terrorist attacks.
Taken 2 does not fail in delivering high-octane action packed sequences. From high-speed car chases to Krav Maga, superbly named director Olivier Megaton manages to move from set-piece to set-piece with some proficiency.
A surprise move taken by Megaton is the demanding role taken on by Mills’ daughter throughout the action sequences. Sure, she wears an inconvenient bikini throughout the film, and sure, her sequences mostly involve hiding and bringing the male hero things, but in the context of this genre of film she is veritable feminist icon. It’s not improbable to assume that some Ryan Gosling-like character (more like the Drive stuntman than The Notebook heartthrob) has taken control of her body and takes an Apple Maps tour of Istanbul, taking every backstreet with a farmers market possible so she can crash through as many stalls as she can.
In a Nutshell: The piss is being Taken.