Taken 2

Director: Olivier Megaton (2012)
Starring: Liam Neeson, Maggie Grace, Famke Janssen
Find it: IMDB

Given that the director's name is Olivier Megaton, one might be lead to expect a lot more explosions from Taken 2 than one actually gets. Weighing in with a puny 12A rating, there are gunfights and fisticuffs aplenty in Taken 2, but never any impact. What it does get right, however, is its title's promise. There's lots of taking going on in Taken 2. Kidnap prone Kim (Grace) manages to stay out of the baddies' clutches, but no such luck for the rest of her family. Particularly taken (again and again) is wife Lenore, mostly because Neeson keeps leaving her behind.

Neeson reprises his role as Bryan Mills, a man who seems to spend most of his time stalking his daughter and holding crappy barbecues with his camp friends. When ex-wife Lenny's new partner leaves her, Mills decides to cheer the family up by taking them on holiday to Istanbul  There, a welcoming committee is waiting for them - the vengeful relatives of the sex-traffickers Mills killed the last time around. Bryan and Lenny are kidnapped, and it's left to Kim to find them. Considering the events here and those of the last film, Taken 2 should have ended with the Mills family burning their passports and vowing to never take another bloody holiday again.

Taken was a sleeper hit, taking (geddit) many by surprise and bringing about a career resurgence for Liam Neeson as Hollywood's go-to action guy. As with its predecessor, Neeson is the best reason to watch this sequel. It's certainly not for the bloodless action, which ranges between being incomprehensible to uninspired. No, Taken 2 succeeds only because Liam Neeson's Bryan Mills is a hilarious creation. His scenes with Maggie Grace are entirely uncomfortable, like spending the evening with a quietly lecherous relative. I honestly expected one early scene between the two of them to end with a kiss on the lips. He's certainly a lot more lapse in recovering his ex-wife than he was his daughter, constantly leaving her alone, semi-conscious in really dangerous places to get kidnapped again. That's one way to be rid of a third wheel. There are scenes in which Mills actually gets jealous of his daughter's new boyfriend. Taken 2 is a sweet romance between a man and his daughter. It's like a gender-switched Oedipus in reverse. Except this is definitely not Shakespeare.

I'm not being facetious by referring to Janssen's character as 'Lenny', by the way. It's actually Bryan Mills' pet name for his lover. Which just made me think of this, every time he said her name:

Taken 2 is a fun but silly and senseless action thriller with no gore, no grit and no gumption. The genuinely nasty threat of the first film's sex trade baddies gone, Neeson is left battling boring thugs who never stood a chance in the first place. Thankfully the big fella's presence alleviates the film's problems, his performance always fun to watch. The door is left slightly ajar for another sequel, but that would just be taken the piss.


  1. It’s a very, very stupid and idiotic movie, but it’s also a bunch of fun especially if you love seeing Neeson in his top, action-like form once again. Good review Jacob.

  2. Agreed. Neeson is always watchable in this sort of thing. Thanks for reading! Also, I enjoyed your review of the film too :))

  3. Not as good as the first, but still fun. Nice review, thanks.