Review of Taken 2

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Directed by Olivier Megaton, the sequel to the 2008 film Taken is set a year after the events that transpired in Paris. Retired CIA agent Bryan Mills (Liam Neeson) returns to take out more bad guys after an Albanian seeking revenge for the death of his son abducts his ex-wife Lenore (Famke Janssen) during a vacation in Istanbul.
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Movie Review: "Taken 2"

-- Rating: PG-13 (strong language, some sexuality, and a violent image)
Length: 91 minutes
Release date: Oct. 5, 2012
Directed by: Olivier Megaton
Genre: Action, Crime, and Drama

Even those who have not seen "Taken" will enjoy "Taken 2." It is easy to be mesmerized by the slick action in this sequel. "Taken 2" picks off after the events in Paris in the first movie. The families of the men killed by Bryan Mills (Liam Neeson) for kidnapping his daughter, Kim (Maggie Grace), are thirsty for revenge. In fact, Murad Hoxha (Rade Šerbedžija) vows revenge during the funeral of those who were killed in Paris. Hoxha is the father of Marko, one of the villains Bryan felled in Paris.

Kim has a new boyfriend, and his father is teaching her how to drive. At the same time, Bryan and his wife Lenore (Famke Janssen) are having major relationship problems. Bryan cancels Kim and Lenore's planned holiday to China and asks them to join him in Istanbul, where he has some work to do. The two trick him into believing that they are not joining him only to show up after all.

While Kim remains in the marketplace after a family lunch, her parents are pursued by Murad's men, and her mother is captured. Bryan explains the dire situation to Kim before surrendering. However, he does not remain in captivity for long. With his daughter's help, he manages to escape and track down Lenore who has been whisked away by Murad's men. The film follows the action-film formula in which the hero must have a happy ending; therefore, the movie predictably ends with Bryan vanquishing the villain Murad.

Watching the movie, one gets the feeling that Bryan will emerge unscathed from any bad situation that he finds himself in. In fact, not only does he save himself, he also manages to save his loved ones in the process. Whereas in the first film Kim was the kidnapping victim, this time her mother (and by extension her father) are the victims. The patriarch Murad is seeking revenge not only for himself but also for his extended family members. One gets the feeling that if not for his incompetent men, Murad would almost succeed in his quest.

Although this film has plenty of action, it also includes a storyline and several subplots. A good example is the relationship between Kim and her father. Like many typical fathers, Bryan is wary of his daughter's relationship and acts in an overprotective manner. This is a relationship that is mirrored in today's society although Bryan seems to have taken it to a whole new level. He can be excused by those who have seen "Taken." Having gone all that length to save and protect his loved ones, this tough guy can be forgiven for stretching it a little bit.

There is also a subplot in which Kim tries to help patch things up between her parents, but it is not fully developed. In fact, this might be one of the reasons why the bad guys are able to get their victim in the first place. The kidnapping happens when the two parents are left together by their daughter to mend broken fences.

Unfortunately (or fortunately), this subplot is not well developed. In fact, it is dropped until the end of the movie. Perhaps this is because, being an aging action star, Neeson is portrayed as a no-nonsense man who does not have time for distractions. When he has to save his family, that is all he focuses on.

"Taken 2" is directed by Olivier Megaton, a French film director and writer. Some of his previous directorial work includes "Colombiana," "The Red Siren," and "Transporter 3." The caliber of these films shows that Megaton is not new to directing.

Neeson, on the other hand, is a seasoned Irish-born actor. In addition to "Taken 2," for which many people know him, he has also acted in other films such as the acclaimed "Schindler's List," "Batman Begins," and "The Chronicles of Narnia," among many others. He has been nominated for several awards, including several Golden Globes. His performance in "Taken" was particularly solid and well received, and this is one of the reasons why many of his fans eagerly awaited "Taken" with bated breath. Many people remember Janssen as a Bond girl in "GoldenEye" as well as in the "X-Men" film series. Grace, an American actress, earned a Young Artist Award for the 2002 television movie "Murder in Greenwich." Fans of the award-winning television series "24" will remember Serbian-born actor, musician, and director, Šerbedžija playing Dmitri Gredenko in season 6. In a nutshell, "Taken 2" was well cast.

Rating: 4 out of 5