MOVIE REVIEW: Taken 2

CAUGHT IN THE MIDDLE: Liam Neeson, centre, in an action scene from Taken 2.
CAUGHT IN THE MIDDLE: Liam Neeson, centre, in an action scene from Taken 2.

Laim Neeson rescues sequel

IT'S A NEW week, and a new movie to thrash or appraise. Yep, I do like my job and you can envy me all you like, flick fan. Now let me delve into Taken 2.

No, wait a minute. Let's revisit the original, Taken.

As you know, Taken restored the fading star of Liam Neeson by gaining quite a cult following.

It's definitely one of my favourites too, and that's because it's a gripping action thriller with a breathtaking plot, storyline and cinematography.

Taken doesn't give you any room to relax and daydream about the background beauty of France where the film is set. There's also less room to lambast it.

Just to recap, Taken is about a former CIA operative who is tracking down her daughter who has been kidnapped by human traffickers while on holiday there.

Bryan Mills (Neeson) suffers severe torture and breaks every bone in his body to save the apple of his eye, Kim (Maggie Grace).

Scene sequencing is so on point (and less unpredictable) and the action is so palatable you don't want the credits to roll up. Let's turn our attention to Taken 2.

From the outset, Taken 2 is a bit shaky.

There are, at the most, four reasons why Taken 2 will not meet the high expectations set by the original film.

First, it's a sequel: sequels can never eclipse originals, and that's that. Second, its plot has gaping holes throughout.

Why does Mills take Kim and her mom (his ex-wife), Lenore (Famke Janssen), on a holiday outside the US, their home country, to Instanbul, Turkey, fresh from a kidnapping drama?

That's just another kidnapping possibility waiting to happen.

And when both Lenore and Mills are captured by relatives of people Mills butchered in Taken, should we be surprised? Well, I wasn't. You won't be either.

Third, the strong dialogue of Mills when he returns the threat to Kim's kidnappers in Taken, is no longer there.

In fact, the change of focus from Mills to Kim to free her parents from the baddies doesn't strike a chord.

Frankly, I found her constantly terrified, "I'm-not-sure-if-I-can-do-this" attitude a tad frustrating.

Kim should have been the one being rescued again so that we flick lovers get another chance to see more of Mills (Neeson) taking the war to the Turks.

Of course, his skills at getting out of sticky situations are excellent.

But instructing his scared daughter (over the phone) to execute his plans is a second-hand cheap shot.

Also, the violent scenes are not as innovative as in the original. That's not to say I'm violent. You know what I mean? No? Well, tough luck.

Be that as it may, Neeson's great performance rescues the film from mediocrity.

If you've never seen the original, Taken 2 will wow you.

If you've seen the original, you'll still want to see this one because it is not a bad thriller at all.

If there is ever aTaken 3, I pray that Kim is kidnapped and can be rescued like a damsel in distress.

Then I'll be taken. Right now I'm not.

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