“Taken 2” Disappoints Fans of the Original “Taken”

Taken 2 Disappoints Fans of the Original Taken

Karalyn Kickham

After the successful release of the movie “Taken” in 2008, fans of this film had high expectations for its sequel “Taken 2,” which came into theaters October 5, 2012. Hoping that “Taken 2” would be bigger and better than its predecessor, many viewers left the theater disappointed after finding the film to be lackluster in comparison to the original.  Much like its title, the movie proved to be nothing more than predictable.

“Taken 2” adopts the plot of “Taken,” in which Kim (Maggie Grace) is kidnapped by sex traffickers while on vacation with a friend in Paris.  Her father, retired CIA agent Bryan Mills (Liam Neeson), flies to Paris, and after a movie full of action and intense fight scenes, he is ultimately able to rescue his daughter and return home safely.

The sequel begins with a few choppy scenes that are included for the sole purpose of showing what has changed in the Mills family since “Taken.”  Maggie Grace’s character is not done much justice in this movie, as she irrationally is irritated by her father’s concern about her new boyfriend even after she was kidnapped by men who initially flirted with her in the first movie.  Bryan invites Kim and his wife Lennie (Famke Janssen) to travel to Istanbul to get away from the stress at home, which— after their horrible experience travelling last time— does not seem to make much sense to travel last-minute to an unfamiliar country.

Kim proves she has learned nothing from being abducted the first time when she agrees to stay at the hotel by herself while her parents go out; obviously, this is when the action in the movie begins. Little does the Mills family know, Murad Krasniqi (Rade Serbedzija), the father of a man Bryan killed in the previous movie, has come to Istanbul seeking revenge on Bryan for the death of his son.  Both Bryan and his wife are “taken,” and it is up to Kim to save her parents.

The plot is extremely unstable, and the scenes are too choppy and back-and-forth.  Although Kim is the one put in charge of rescue this time around, she basically does nothing heroic on her own, as her father communicates with her via a tiny cellular device he has.  He instructs Kim on what to do literally every step of the way until she is able to get to him.  Even when Kim is driving through narrow streets (which is quite ironic considering she failed her driving test), her father is telling her every turn to take and how to maneuver the car. Kim is so dependent on her father’s help in his own rescue that “Taken 2” could easily be mistaken for the same movie as the original, where it was Bryan’s responsibility to save Kim.

With random and almost excessive action scenes, some poor acting by Maggie Grace, and an overall unorganized and unimpressive plot, “Taken 2” does not live up to expectations in any way.  This could be due in part to the switch in directors from Pierre Morel of the original to Olivier Megaton of the sequel.  The only justice done to the movie is the return of Liam Neeson, who is perfectly fit for the role of the kickass crime-fighting father and brings life (well, actually, death) to the action scenes with the bad guys.

If anyone is looking for an action-packed, edge-of-your-seat thriller, “Taken 2” is probably not the best choice.  With a cliché and irrelevant ending, in addition to the predictable plot almost identical to that of “Taken,” buying a ticket to “Taken 2” is essentially paying to see the poorly executed version of the same movie released four years ago.