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Taken 2

October 26, 2012
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After recently experiencing the raw wonder of watching Liam Neeson rampage through Europe in the first film, I was eager for more in the form of Taken 2.

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After the events of Taken (Bad guys kidnap his daughter. Liam Neeson gets her. With extreme violence), the relatives of the Albanian criminals want revenge on ex-CIA agent, Bryan Mills (Liam Neeson). After a security job in Istanbul, Mills is joined by his ex-wife and daughter (Famke Janssen and Maggie Grace respectively) for something of a holiday. This is when the Albanians choose to strike. A team go after Mills and his ex-wife in the narrow alleys of a crowded Turkish market while more goons go after his daughter in the hotel. After some experience in this situation, Kim manages to avoid being taken (She is, however, still disastrously appalling at answering the phone). Bryan and Lenore are not so lucky. The film chronicles how Mills turns the tables on his kidnappers and the subsequent rampage.

Neeson is every bit as brilliant as he was in the first film. He combines the over-protective doting father role with the ultra-violence of the hardened CIA agent with aplomb. It’s a fine balance but he pulls it off naturally. I am eternally grateful that my girlfriend’s Irish father is not Liam Neeson. His family are solid supporting characters but there is nothing extraordinary in their performance.

Conversely, though the Albanians were sufficiently villainous, their leader (the only one with more than an ounce of characterisation) felt quite two-dimensional. He wants revenge against Mills because of the brutality he inflicted against his son and nephews but when Mills points out that they were criminals of the worst order (They kidnapped western girls and put them through the sex trafficking trade. Bad guys) he flatly denies that any of that matters.

 I’ve already mentioned, several times now, how incredibly watchable Liam Neeson’s rampage is. This is due in part to its inherent entertainment value but it is also due to how smart the rampage is. Much like in the first film, Mills uses a host of clever CIA tricks to get the better of the bad guys. This is a rampage with brains! It is also due to the clever pacing of the film. it doesn’t force you on a relentless rollercoaster of high-octane thrills but at the same time, the down-tempo scenes don’t drag along either.

This film is largely the same as Taken, except transposed to a different city with slightly different bad guys. That is no bad thing as Taken is one of the best action films I’ve seen in a long time. However, while it treads familiar fertile ground, and treads it well, we have seen this before. For that reason, I have the slight suspicion that this just wasn’t quite as good as the first film, by maybe half a percent. If there’s a Taken 3, it would probably drop another percent. This is a very good film and more than worth your time.

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