Taken was something of a surprise hit, way back in 2008. Liam Neeson, that bona fide, middle-aged, thesp, an action hero? It had to be seen to be believed. Telling the story of a father using his own particular set of skills learned as a CIA operative killing half of Paris to find his kidnapped daughter, rocketed Liam
Neeson into the mainstream consciousness as an unlikely action hero.
Although it had an ending with plenty of closure, the box office return on the relatively small
budget virtually guaranteed a return to the world of Bryan Mills and his
unique, but brutally effective, brand of finding people.
Now how do you top Taken? Well, without wanting to spoil it (it is in
the trailer), you kidnap the father and mother instead! This leaves Maggie Grace as Bryan Mills’ daughter in the unenviable situation of having to help save them.
Cue phone calls to his daughter who manages to evade capture on the mean and exotic streets of Istanbul, Turkey. He later deposits his daughter at the US Embassy for safe keeping (after giving her a lesson in high-speed evasion in a taxi, natch).
This is probably a movie best suited to home viewing. I’d probably watch it on DVD as I did with the first film. It is a popcorn movie – disposable but fun fodder from
which drinking games can (and will) be created. I can see it now: drink a finger of
alcohol when you hear Liam Neeson say ‘Listen to me very carefully…’, do a shot when he snaps someone’s neck, down an entire bottle of vodka when he encounters a situation where his mysteriously thorough and all-encompassing CIA training can’t help him (spoiler: that’s never, then).
The film is peppered with some unintentionally hilarious moments, despite the po-faced nature of the story. Mostly to do with Liam’s delivery of his lines and how they immediately transmit to the audience that something bad is going to
Liam Neeson carries on as he did before – the overprotective father who
just wants to make sure his family is safe. Famke Janssen has a relatively
thankless role as the kidnapped ex-wife, bound, gagged, and dragged
all over the place. Maggie Grace steps up from the kidnapped daughter
Kim to rescuer. The villains though, are largely ineffective. Merely there to present
Bryan with some vague form of resistance when walking from one door to another.
Liam Neeson has gone on record as saying that there really is no way to do a third Taken movie.
Contrary to this, there are reports that one is being plotted, possible sans Neeson. The first Taken was a lightning in a bottle situation, this struggles to repeat the trick and benefits hugely from the first. Can they do it for a third time? It remains to be seen…