Text Review of “Taken 2”



The movie starts shortly after the ending of the first movie.  It is not clear how long since those events but the daughter is still in high school. The mother is now separated from her second husband opening her to rekindle her relationship with Liam Neeson.

To recap the first movie, the daughter of the divorced Liam Neeson goes to Europe for a vacation. She gets kidnap by a sex slave ring. Liam Neeson who is a former “Spook” goes on a rampage to save her.
Taken 2 has the family Liam Neeson, mother, and daughter on vacation in Istanbul. The family members of the  sex slave ring who Liam Neeson killed are pissed and on a blood vendetta. It is their intentions to ultimately kill Liam Neeson and his whole family.
The attraction of the first movie is seeing Liam Neeson’s anger build up through out the film. Liam Neeson is a professional and not a typical “good guy”. He knows who he is and what kind of guys the sex slave ring are. He starts with a professional calmness. However, as the movie progresses and the body count goes up, you see him become more desperate. And, as he becomes more desperate, he becomes more pissed and angry. This becomes a whirlwind of bodies dropping.
The movie itself is simple and this contributes to the buildup of intensity. The first movie is a series of search and destroy sequences that keep building up.  It is simple raw anger embodied by Liam Neeson.
The problem with the Taken 2 is that it is structurally more complex but content wise more stupid.
The second act of Taken 2  is a combination of a chase movie and an escape movie. The third act is just an assault sequence more familiar to action movies such as commando with its own one on one fist fight scene.
With this structure, Taken 2 does not have the same emotional impact as the first movie. Also, none of these different elements are done particularly well.  In order to cram in these different elements, there are several stupid plot points employed for the sake of the writers’ convenience. These plot points do not match well with the pseudo-realism of the first movie.
The largest problem with  Taken 2 is that it does not mean anything at the end. In the first movie, it was about a father trying to reconnect with his daughter.  Taken 2 has no meaning. The movie is bookended with the matter of daughter’s driving exam which she failed 2 times already. In the beginning, Liam Neeson is giving driving lessons. At the end, the daughter passes her exams.
It seems that initially there was an idea concerning the subject of growing up in the script but got removed latter on. So, you have a script that does not mean anything. While this in itself is not a problem, the fact that this is not exactly a big silly action movie makes it a problem.
Taken 2 is not a bad movie. However, it is far less impressive as the first movie.

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