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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Liam Neeson provides for one of the few real gruff everyman action heroes but “Taken 2”, unlike the first “Taken”, is more of the Neeson that I wanna see less of- the Clash of the Titans-Battleship one who’s in it for the paycheck.

He again plays ex-CIA agent Brian Mills, who after the business in Paris from the first film can now add helicopter parenting his teenage daughter (Maggie Grace, one of the least convincing teenagers ever) to his "particular set of skills." He invites both her and his ex-wife (Famke Janssen) on a trip with him to Istanbul where striking up the old romantic fires are on the agenda, though from the wooden dialogue that passes between Neeson and Janssen you could tell even writing-producing partners Luc Besson and Robert Mark Kamen were disinterested. We’re here because the Albanians are pissed off that Mills killed their buddies in the first film and they want revenge.

This time it’s Brian and his wife who are taken and the biggest thrill of this series is his resourcefulness, managing to not only escape but also figure out his own location by having his daughter drop grenades. But that’s where the coolness factor ends. So much of this movie features Brian's one on one fights with villains and it sucks that those villains are basically mindless, unobservant thugs that at no time do we believe the fast-thinking Brian will have any trouble dispatching. They are led by Murad (Rade Sherbedgia), who lost his son in the previous film and seems to have no plan of attack here other than do what was done before and hope for different results.

It also doesn’t help that director Olivier Megaton’s car chases and shoot-outs take on a predictable, lifeless and bloodless quality. Neeson basically walks through this, but he’s not the only one. I know it’s a sequel but c’mon guys, give us a little bit of effort.