‘Taken 2’ opens at a funeral ceremony for the gang members killed by CIA operative Bryan Mills (Liam Neeson) in 2008’s ‘Taken’.
The gang’s boss, giving the eulogy for his associates, swears revenge. When Bryan travels to Istanbul for a job, he’s joined by his daughter and ex-wife. On a trip through the city, Bryan and his ex-wife are kidnapped. His daughter, staying a local hotel, evades capture and keeps in contact with Bryan via sporadic phone calls.
Before I saw ‘Taken 2’, I heard it receive a lot of negative critical reception. Being a fan of the first film, this surprised me as I was expecting more of the same that made the original such a hit. For me, as a whole, ‘Taken 2’ was an underwhelming disappointment which provided none of the thrills or excitement that I expected.
After a promising start at the funeral scene, the story takes ages to get going - focusing too much on Bryan’s ex-wife’s marital problems and his daughter’s new boyfriend. When it does pick up, the action scenes feature an unnecessary amount of ‘shaky-cam’, (an irritating trend in recent films) that often gets in the way of the action, making it difficult to see what’s happening on screen.
With most action films, a suspension of disbelieve is required. Large parts of ‘Taken 2’ can only be described as ludicrous.
One example; when Bryan’s captured he manages to figure out exactly where he’s being held. How? On a smuggled mobile, he instructs his daughter to run around Istanbul throwing grenades, so he can hear the sound and determine where she is. Far too many moments like this had me shaking my head.
‘Taken 2’ had the potential to be as good as, or better than its predecessor. Unfortunately, it failed to deliver.
By Kelan Headley