The action thriller Taken was one of those films that did not need a sequel, in all honesty it did not deserve a sequel. It was a film so self-contained that from start to finish it was only serving one purpose. It was made to provide a thrilling, narratively motivated action flick. However, as it turns out, the success of the first film would lead to a sequel, and this is a story as old as time. Every single time that a sequel is produced to a self-contained film just due to the bankability of the original film, it will turn out to be a disaster. This rule did not change when it comes to the boring case of Taken 2.
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The Movie Review
The story follows directly after the events of Taken (2008), as Liam Neeson’s Bryan Mills has gone back to working for the government and has reignited his relationship with his own daughter, as well as a bit more of a relationship with his ex-wife Lenore. Mills is about to be sent to Istanbul on official business, so of course; his daughter and his ex-wife will join him on this official business trip for some reason.
Now, Istanbul is where things get interesting. Bryan Mills and his ex-wife Lenore get kidnapped in the city, while their daughter Kim is being tracked by the same abductors. Mills safely makes it out of their grasp, but Lenore doesn’t. Now, Mills will need the help of his daughter to figure out who the abductors are, and to bring Lenore back to safety!
Director Olivier Megaton came in to direct the sequel to Taken (2008), and let’s just say that this man does not have a great track record. He’s most notable for Transporter 3, and films like Red Siren, Colombiana and Exit and well, Taken 2 and 3. Don’t be alarmed if you’ve never heard of most of those films, I hadn’t heard of them either before researching for this review. In all honesty,
Taken suffers heavily from the bad pacing that director Olivier Megaton chooses to use. The film is good when it comes to exposition, but it’s just too slow at the start and becomes too fast in the middle, and everything comes to a proper halt near the end and then there’s a super short action sequence.
The part that I disliked most about this film was that they tried to include a proper villain this time, instead of just Liam Neeson against a whole system that was evil. It was one of the few parts of the original film which made a lot of sense, as it’s not just one person pulling the strings but rather a whole organization of people.
That’s something this film throws out, and focuses on an Albanian human trafficking war lord of sorts who can just do whatever he wants, wherever he wants. Yugoslavia actor Rade Šerbedžija was made to play the villain, who was the father of one of the people Mills kills in the original film. It’s kind of random, but it’s a revenge story from his point of view.
The one aspect that I do like is the performances, which are as good as you could expect. Liam Neeson, Maggie Grace and Famke Janssen all give decent performances, and while they aren’t that amazing, they serve the film quite well. Rade Šerbedžija as the villain also gives a captivating performance, though the writing for his character falls very short.
Now on the topic of things that fall short, the cinematography is absolutely busted in this film. It looks absolutely horrendous, and though the locations are beautiful, the film barely makes any use of them! It’s honestly heart breaking to see a place as beautiful as Istanbul wasted completely on showing the underbellies, and not using any of the major areas for some big set pieces.
The Bottom Line
In conclusion, Taken 2 is by far one of the biggest downgrades in terms of quality that a franchise has ever received. It’s an unnecessary film with a poor script, some horrendous cinematography and some of the worst direction within an action film that heavily relies on build-up.
There is no sense for this film to exist, and yet it does and it does so very poorly. Somehow though, this film turned out to be better than what came afterwards.