"Are you ready? Are you ready? You need to be ready"
Bryan Mills (Liam Neeson) says this to his daughter, Kim (Maggie Grace), almost like a warning to her and us saying â€œHey, the action is about to go into overdrive now, fasten your seatbelts!â€ The action does get going but it doesn't exactly change gears the way it should. Mostly because it completely sidesteps the first rule of sequel making â€œDon't make the same movie again!â€ I'm sure it will be better viewed by those who haven't seen the first film.
Earlier, Kim was kidnapped by sex traffickers in Paris. Now, the father of the kidnapper, who Bryan avenged previously, comes after the whole family while they vacation in Istanbul. Taken (2008) was essentially every possessive father's nightmare made into an action film. I thoroughly enjoyed it and to be honest I'd rather witness Liam Neeson get an action film franchise than Vin Diesel. But did we really need a sequel to the first film? No and yes. (Note the order)
No, because it doesn't take the story forward but circles around the same territory. Yes, because it's Liam Neeson! My admiration for Neeson only grows with each film of his I watch. From the lead or supporting roles in major studio films to art-house films, he takes over the screen with his presence. Action movies deserve better than men who have half a facial expression. Neeson embodies grit and menace at the same time. His strength is exhibited in his demeanor, not by a stiff beefed-up body. How many 60 year olds can make that claim?
Taken 2 starts off well and ends sufficiently but the middle is a bit sketchy. Sure, the film is entertaining all right. The amount of plot holes here is directly proportional to its entertainment value. But then again I believe a roller coaster ride can't be fun if it's a smooth one. Defeats the purpose, doesn't it?
Maggie Grace isn't just a passive victim this time around but gets to be a part of the action. Sometimes it is best to do exactly what your Daddy says. (Possessive father's nightmare has turned into a dream') One of the reasons why I did not dislike this film is because of one scene near the end which strips the avenger-avengee relationship to its bare minimum. The protagonist and the antagonist actually converse about the necessity of vengeance. This isn't the best sequel Taken could have got but for a film that never needed a sequel in the first place, this isn't half bad. In all honesty, if the purpose was to make me look forward to Taken 3, the job is done.