Taken 2 (2012)

Friday, October 12, 2012

Taken 2

When news broke that filmmakers were working on a script for a sequel to the 2008 hit, Taken, I was beyond thrilled. I can remember not being interested in the movie until my dad expressed curiosity in seeing it so I figured I’d watch it with him. Little did I realize how wrong I was about the thriller that not only gave its audience a noble hero and fabulous action sequences, but also nuances of truth (in the sphere of just how right our fathers can be).

Time has passed and still Kim (Maggie Grace) is trying to figure out how to be “normal” after nearly being sold into a high-class sex trafficking ring. She doesn’t have a clue how to go about it but her definition of it doesn’t include her ex-CIA father, Bryan (Liam Neeson) showing up on her boyfriend’s doorstep demanding that she keep their weekly driving lesson. Kim’s irritation is soon pacified by the promise she gets from her father that he won’t run a background check on Jamie and Bryan’s attentions shift to his ex-wife, Lenore (Famke Janssen) who is now separated from her wealthy husband.

Hoping to reconcile, Lenore is devastated when he cancels the family vacation the three had planned and on a whim, Bryan invites his ex and daughter to join him in Istanbul. He has a three-day job working security but after that, he tells Lenore he’d stay extra days and they could enjoy some relaxing sight-seeing. Skeptical at first, Lenore and Kim surprise Bryan and the three of them enjoy a wonderful start to an escape from worry over divorce proceedings but then, Lenore is captured by the same men Bryan hunted in his search to find Kim – and in order to see her life spared, he surrenders himself… but not before he makes a call to Kim, sure that she is spared from yet another ordeal with the men who upended her happy life.

Writing a sequel to something that did well in theaters can be something that conforms to its “parent” title because most of the time, writer’s fall into a trap of essentially writing a different scenario of the first film. Legitimately that can be said about this fast-paced follow-up. I cannot speak for how everyone will react to its plot but I know for me – and my cousin, this movie was equally as dynamic as the first, and I am even tempted to say, I may have liked it a smidgeon more than its predecessor. Maybe. What this does lack is the same emotional impact because in essence, it’s not as emotionally unstable – that is to its credit. Not counting the possibility of making you dizzy, the opening titles and first few minutes must be praised.The film is not only set up to be a “new” story but mostly it is a snazzy re-cap of what happened in Taken without boring us with all the minuscule details. (My own philosophy is if you are confused it’s your own fault for not re-watching whatever the film is an off-shoot of.) There are some fantastically good breath-catching scenes that though well-filmed (no hint of bad special effects here) epitomize the phrase, “only at the movies,” but it does nothing to distort our anxiety that everything will end well. Fortunately, we are rewarded.
Taken 2

So much about Taken 2 did I find to root for and am in fact writing this 900+ word review as a means to endorse it in my own way. There wasn’t as much of a heart-tugging relationship between Kim and her father, or perhaps I should say, it wasn’t as blatantly obvious because instead of seeing her captured, Bryan’s sole purpose this time is to see that she is safe. A wise choice in the script as the poor girl has already been through more than any teenager should. Two of my favorite scenes are the car chase and seeing Kim channeling her inner Jason Bourne, and really, it was awesome as she leaps from rooftops and becomes less of a happy-go-lucky girl and one bent on seeing her parent’s safe return.

I empathized with the character of Kim in her bid to try and start over while I thought her inability to pass her driver’s test insightful into the fact that she may be doing it on purpose, unwilling to let go of the last bit of “protection” she had – obtaining the license gives her a symbolic freedom. Again Grace does a great job with Kim, tapering her giggly happiness (understandably) and yet, Grace is over the edge now of looking legitimate in the role of a teen. The one actor who never disappoints, Neeson again makes us applaud his actions and wish that more heroes were as upstanding as Bryan Mills. By the time you walk out of the theater, you may be wearing a silly smile but you sure won’t feel as if you’ve be ‘taken’ for anything – it was five bucks and 90-some minutes well spent.

(Parental review: Dozens of men are killed in various ways, by every means possible from gunshot wounds to getting their necks snapped; the climax scene is perhaps the most intense as Bryan engages in his final fight and both men are beaten badly. Lenore is cut and chained up. There is one car chase sequence that is the standard barrage of flipping cars, explosions and the like. Profanity consists of several uses of sh*t and other commonplace profanities. Kim is seen making out with her boyfriend [his hand travels up her blouse and he fiddles with the tie of it]. The rating is PG13.) 


  1. Hm... I'm thinking I may rent Taken then maybe see Taken 2. :)

  2. Great review Rissi. Loud, dumb, and idiotic, but also a bunch of fun if you love seeing Neeson run around, shooting, driving, and killing anybody that gets in his way. Can’t say I loved it, but I had a good time with it.

  3. oh I cannot wait to see Taken 2!!

  4. Hmmm maybe I'll see this movie.

  5. I've heard a lot about the first movie...I didn't know it has been out since 2008 though...wow...where was I for the last few years?

  6. Rosie - the first film in this franchise was one of the BEST action flicks ever. Still to this day I think it's fantastic. The sequel is far from a new concept but is equally as good. Hope you enjoy if you see them. :-)

    Dan - thank you. I didn't think this was idiotic or dumb but yes, it certainly could have concocted a bit more original plot. That being said, Liam Neeson does a pretty good job at convincing us that he knows what he's doing with those cool toys. :-)

    Thanks so much for dropping by again - do so anytime.

    Jessica - yay! Another fan. :-) Enjoy!

    Chelsea - if you like action flicks with more "heart" to them, then you'd like this franchise. It's quite good. :-)

    Heather - I know! I had it listed as 2009 at first until I double-checked and saw it was really from a year prior. Gosh, but time goes fast - that is the bad thing about sequels, all that time before we get to see it!

    The first movie was really fantastic as was the second but its emotional impact isn't as great. The good thing is that the cast is back which always makes for a smoother transition.

    Thank you all for stopping by! I really appreciate it - please visit again anytime. :-)

  7. Hey! Thanks for your comments. Unfortunately, I cannot see this movie because I saw the first one and hated it (I can deal with haunted houses and ghosts, but when it comes to sex trading and rape, I want to punch every single man that has ever existed across the face), I'm very opinionated :P haha which is usually not a good thing, but anyway, still a great review! :)

  8. This sequel has nothing to do with sex trafficking crimes - or not like the first. The people who are kidnapped this go round is for revenge and nothing else. As a kid I was petrified of mysteries so I think if something frightens you - in entertainment, it's not worth watching. :-)

    Thank you for reading - and stopping by, Juliet!

  9. I just accidentally said on rafflecopter that I commented on another one of your posts. Oops! (I'm seriously technologically challenged. ;)) Oh well, I was going to comment here anyway...I really want to see this movie. Partially because I love Liam Neeson SO MUCH, but also cause I love action movies. I've seen the trailer for this and it looks fantastic! :)

    1. Ah! That's okay, Maria - you remembered. Aren't we all technologically challenged!? I know I am. ;D

      Hope you enjoy this one - it's quite good!


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