Taken 2

User Score
5.6

Mixed or average reviews- based on 314 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Negative: 69 out of 314

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User Reviews

  1. Nov 1, 2012
    6
    It's a fairly routine story, but Neeson and Grace do a nice job as action-hero and action-hero's willing acolyte-daughter. Grace has actually come a long way since her Lost days - her likeability has increased in a significant way. And she just pops on the screen. I thought that the crux of the story was given short shrift. "I don't care that my son was a horrible kidnapper - your bloodIt's a fairly routine story, but Neeson and Grace do a nice job as action-hero and action-hero's willing acolyte-daughter. Grace has actually come a long way since her Lost days - her likeability has increased in a significant way. And she just pops on the screen. I thought that the crux of the story was given short shrift. "I don't care that my son was a horrible kidnapper - your blood must flow through the hills of my home town because you killed him!" It lacked a certain righteous indignation. Tough to get behind his massive endeavor here. And the minor twist at the end, if you can call it that? So predictable. Should have been omitted. A good time, but nothing extremely special. Collapse
  2. Sep 8, 2013
    6
    A well shot film making full use of its surroundings, Istanbul in this case. Well paced with the level action keeping the adrenalin pumping almost from the start. The performances were all very good although I felt nobody was particularly stretched. Liam Neeson was his usual self as Bryan Mills, Maggie Grace was good as daughter Kim, as was Famke Janssen as wife Lenore. Also worthy of noteA well shot film making full use of its surroundings, Istanbul in this case. Well paced with the level action keeping the adrenalin pumping almost from the start. The performances were all very good although I felt nobody was particularly stretched. Liam Neeson was his usual self as Bryan Mills, Maggie Grace was good as daughter Kim, as was Famke Janssen as wife Lenore. Also worthy of note was Rade Serbedzija as major bad guy, Murad Krasniqi. It was ok as a piece of entertainment but I felt it didn’t do anything the first film didn’t. You usually expect a sequel to expand on the story of the first but this one virtually told the same story but with a couple of alterations. It seemed like the studio (Fox) were just out to cash in on the success of the first one. I’m just glad I didn’t go and watch it in a cinema but still, if you want entertainment that won’t stretch the little grey cells to much, then this is the one for you.

    SteelMonster’s verdict: RECOMMENDED (Just)

    My score: 6.3/10.
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  3. May 19, 2013
    6
    Why not make a sequel to one of the surprises of 2008? There's plenty more happening in the second outing for Bryan Mills, the retired CIA man who is obsessive, vigilant and on time precisely to the minute he said he would be.
    But what the films premise does is bring an idea which so many other films leave out of the occasion, all the bad guys that are gunned down yet nobody seems to care
    Why not make a sequel to one of the surprises of 2008? There's plenty more happening in the second outing for Bryan Mills, the retired CIA man who is obsessive, vigilant and on time precisely to the minute he said he would be.
    But what the films premise does is bring an idea which so many other films leave out of the occasion, all the bad guys that are gunned down yet nobody seems to care about them? Incorrect in Taken 2. A mass funeral is being held for the unfortunate men who crossed Bryan in the first film, and revenge is on the agenda for the families of those he killed. But back in LA, Bryan is steadily moving closer to his ex- wife Lenore, played again by the beautiful Famke Janssen, while also continuing his overbearing but respected father routine to Kim Maggie Grace).
    When he invites the two of them to Istanbul while he guards a Sheik, things take a turn when Bryan and Lenore are are out. Through careful instructions to his eventually safe daughter, he manages to work out where he and his ex-wife are being held, the process by which he does this may raise a few eyebrows..but it's quite a cleverly constructed scene that certainly gets all the characters more involved in this sequel.
    No, it isn't as good as the first, but saying that it shouldn't entirely be viewed as a sequel, each character is given more involvement in this film to the point where it isn't entirely necessary to have seen the first, this perhaps may be a good thing because this isn't as engaging or surprising, we already know what lengths Bryan will go to, we know what he is capable of and quite frankly we don't see this sort of side to him in this film.
    It's not so much a remake but maybe even a continuation without actually being a sequel. The same sort of edginess is gone and replaced with an array of doubling back efforts and countless chases, the emotional depth from the plot of the first film involving Kim being sold as a prostitute is gone, we no longer need to feel for these characters but just seem to be lead to enjoy the film without thinking about it.
    Still a decent action flick with plenty to smile and talk about, but the film ultimately doesn't reach the surprising heights its predecessor did, much of the flare is gone, but again, worth a look anyway.
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  4. Dec 20, 2012
    6
    Well. Well. Well. So many negative reviews and whatnot. Maybe this is because people didn't get anything new to see and there was not much of a slight suspense element which the first installment had. Whatever the case was, I am going to be totally honest here. I actually enjoyed watching the movie, it wasn't as great as the first one but, without a doubt, it is a good pastime. It isn'tWell. Well. Well. So many negative reviews and whatnot. Maybe this is because people didn't get anything new to see and there was not much of a slight suspense element which the first installment had. Whatever the case was, I am going to be totally honest here. I actually enjoyed watching the movie, it wasn't as great as the first one but, without a doubt, it is a good pastime. It isn't boring at all. Action sequences seem a little too over-stylish but overall, Taken 2 is a good film. Taken is a kind of film that doesn't need a sequel and I don't know why they made it, and they're in talks to make another one as well, who would be taken in that one? All three of them? And maybe they'll get killed this time for real. I'm up for another sequel if they come up with much, much better ideas and plot than Taken and Taken 2 combined. I always watch Liam Neeson's films because he is one of my very favorite actors and his performance never disappoints me, that's a plus point for this film. Of course, there are so many plotholes, some of them seem annoying like the one in US Embassy, that's ridiculous! In addition, the thing that annoyed me the most was that in the film, Kim is going through rooftops and throwing grenades and nobody gives a **** That's plain stupid. Long story short, if you still have to watch the film, don't expect much from it. I didn't and that worked for me. Well, almost! Expand
  5. Oct 9, 2012
    6
    it is better than i thought, quite enjoyable during the watch, good casting and action scenes. the only downside is i always think the phoenix girl gonna go mad and kill em all, lol, just kidding:)
  6. Oct 13, 2012
    6
    Like "The Hangover: Part II" this is basically the same movie just in a different city. But after the first choppy and close up action scene I really enjoyed myself. It's just one of those films that you watch simply to watch, and will forget about it the moment you step out of the theater. It's not an awful movie, but it's clear this was a cash grab.
  7. Oct 10, 2012
    6
    Taken 2, Like Taken (1) is really just an action packed movie whose protagonist never really fails. Liam Neeson's character (Bryan Mills) is just...super-human, and that's the problem with the movie, Bryan never really develops as a character so there is no real sense of "Wow! He actually did it" Knowing that he just kills everyone in his way. Overall the plot was spot-on but characterTaken 2, Like Taken (1) is really just an action packed movie whose protagonist never really fails. Liam Neeson's character (Bryan Mills) is just...super-human, and that's the problem with the movie, Bryan never really develops as a character so there is no real sense of "Wow! He actually did it" Knowing that he just kills everyone in his way. Overall the plot was spot-on but character development is the only thing that hindered Taken 2's overall score. Expand
  8. Oct 9, 2012
    6
    This review contains spoilers, click expand to view. Good Film but not as good as the first one. Really enjoyed the first half of the movie but goes downhill from there. The last scene when he Killed the Father was a bit stupid as he just pushed him.. and also when he leaves his wife in the room where they are capruted Expand
  9. Oct 13, 2012
    6
    I gave it a 6 as i am a sucker for a well produced action flick that clearly delineates good vs evil. Has to suspend brain a few too many times ( for instance when the daughter was driving a stick Mercedes like a Grand Prix racer...yet she can't seem to get her license in the states), as well as the overall rationale for the blood revenge. Also, I thought there would one more plotI gave it a 6 as i am a sucker for a well produced action flick that clearly delineates good vs evil. Has to suspend brain a few too many times ( for instance when the daughter was driving a stick Mercedes like a Grand Prix racer...yet she can't seem to get her license in the states), as well as the overall rationale for the blood revenge. Also, I thought there would one more plot twist...besides the daughter getting her license. Expand
  10. Feb 1, 2015
    6
    Although not as engaging as the first one, Taken 2 is more of the same, in a good way. Fans of the original will definitely be pleased with this sequel that is far better than it has any right to be.

    However, there are some things that drag it down a bit. The biggest problem is the director, Olivier Megaton, who shouldn't be allowed to make movies. Him and the editor can't just let the
    Although not as engaging as the first one, Taken 2 is more of the same, in a good way. Fans of the original will definitely be pleased with this sequel that is far better than it has any right to be.

    However, there are some things that drag it down a bit. The biggest problem is the director, Olivier Megaton, who shouldn't be allowed to make movies. Him and the editor can't just let the shot be and let the actors act. Every .5 seconds, the frame changes, and by the end of the scene it feels like a workout, not to mention strain on the eyes. Another issue that I'm sure has offended many Istanbul residents is that the director and screenplay assumes that Turkey is a Muslim state. Every woman is seen covered in black, and all the men have beards like Pilgrims. It is to be noted that not all of Istanbul is like this, and the movie narrows in on this fact too much.

    Overall, Taken 2 is a pretty good sequel, considering how they could've screwed this up. The plot angle isn't the most original, but it will do. I'm just not looking forward to seeing Taken 3, by the same misguided director.
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  11. Oct 4, 2014
    6
    This movie is way worse than the original. The plot was super weak. The action sequences were well done but that's about it. Hopefully Taken 3 will be better.
  12. Mar 16, 2015
    6
    Taken 2 is not a bad movie, its just not a good one. Taken 2 is just another example of trying to capitalize on the success of the original movie and sadly this film earned enough money at the box office for the third film to be released. The action in this movie is pretty good but its plot does not draw you in like the first movie did. Liam Neeson never seems venerable throughout theTaken 2 is not a bad movie, its just not a good one. Taken 2 is just another example of trying to capitalize on the success of the original movie and sadly this film earned enough money at the box office for the third film to be released. The action in this movie is pretty good but its plot does not draw you in like the first movie did. Liam Neeson never seems venerable throughout the movie. I understand that Taken is the role that earned him his reputation as an action star but I think he should continue to collaborate with director Jaume Collet-Serra like he has with Non-Stop and the new release Run All Night. Expand
  13. Jun 4, 2013
    5
    "While i have the utmost respect for Liam Neeson & he truly is a badass. But Taken 2 truly is mess. Its basically a re-hash of the first outing and is nowhere near as entertaining either. I'm going to say Rent It just because i loved the first one so much" C
  14. Feb 23, 2013
    5
    an obvious money grab of a movie. The plot meanders to a point where the flick is simply not believable. The action scenes and pace of the movie are enjoyable.
  15. Oct 9, 2012
    5
    Feeling listless in a lacklustre season for cinema-goers, I simply yearn for the smell of the multiplex and it had been almost one month since my last visit, so TAKEN 2 has been singled out in view of that I had a mildly positive viewing from its first one (TAKEN 2008, 7/10), and action-packed thriller will at least not be a bore (a sad truth is that here is so difficult to find non-dubbedFeeling listless in a lacklustre season for cinema-goers, I simply yearn for the smell of the multiplex and it had been almost one month since my last visit, so TAKEN 2 has been singled out in view of that I had a mildly positive viewing from its first one (TAKEN 2008, 7/10), and action-packed thriller will at least not be a bore (a sad truth is that here is so difficult to find non-dubbed animation features, otherwise the selection would be much wider).

    Being an emblematic sequel relying on the same gambit and stunts to pass through its running time, TAKEN 2 can hardly be called satisfactory, thanks to the rapid editing and effective camera rotation (another tact being overdone here), the gawky Liam Neeson still can render a patina of a sleek special agent, all his moves are pertinent and deadly fatal, nevertheless, reaching 60-year-old, perhaps his next invitation (apart from TAKEN 3, according to its groundbreaking first weekend bravura, a sequel is undoubtedly on the slate now) will be sent from Stallion's THE EXPENDABLES tawdries, and one thing is for sure, he will not be the oldest. Maggie Grace and Famke Jansen both have earned more screen-time, but hardly have any decent time to be composed enough to deliver some jolly one-liners. The plain storyline has efficaciously implemented the genre fun in the most predictable manner (also an over-simplified one), for example, the special knacks (throwing the grenades among the shacks, counting the seconds to remember the route of the vehicle while being blindfolded) required to locate the whereabouts are too far-fetched since Istanbul is not a remote village and most of the time, the whole scheme is made deliberately to facilitate the film to justify itself, screenwriters (Besson is implicated) simply don't care much to the details and the suspense has never been concocted absorbingly, no matter how many Albanian villains are mercilessly iced by our hero, himself, his ex-wife and daughter's safety has never been severely endangered, so supposedly all the pleasure should be derived from the unnecessary killing of the ferocious but mostly marginalised Albanian avengers, what's the point then?

    Director Olivier Megaton is an action genre journeyman (COLOMBIANA, 2011; TRANSPORTER 3, 2008, 4/10), but this time it
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  16. Sep 2, 2014
    5
    Taken 2 takes everything we loved from the original film and... does it again. I will admit portions were fresh and still riveting. Regardless, this sequel falls in the shadows of its precursor.
  17. Oct 7, 2012
    5
    Loved the first movie, struggled to enjoy this one. In the first one, you experience almost everything from Neesons point of view. You have no idea of where the girl is, and who took her. You don't even know if she is still alive. This is what made the first movie very enjoyable to watch. This made the quest of finding his daughter way more dramatic and thrilling as you never knew what toLoved the first movie, struggled to enjoy this one. In the first one, you experience almost everything from Neesons point of view. You have no idea of where the girl is, and who took her. You don't even know if she is still alive. This is what made the first movie very enjoyable to watch. This made the quest of finding his daughter way more dramatic and thrilling as you never knew what to expect. After watching the first 10 minutes of this movie (and the trailer) i knew i was going to be disappointed. Taken 2 detaches us from the protagonist this time, giving us the point of view of the villains, the daughter and the ex-wife. This breaks all the drama of the first one. They are no surprises, you know exactly where the bad guys are holding them, and what they are doing to them. At this point, the only way this movie could save itself is by delivering a lot of action. The actions scene are alright but they are far from amazing. They are mostly chip tricks we have all seen before. A car chase that ends with a train nearly missing the good guys and hitting the bad guys is nothing original. The action doesn't make up for the lack of drama and suspense. Taken 2 clearly doesn't live up to it's predecessor. Expand
  18. Oct 15, 2012
    5
    The original "Taken" was a classic example of a guilty pleasure film, that somehow ceased to be guilty because so many people found pleasure in it. "Taken 2", with its incomprehensible action sequences and a script possibly dumber than the first, will be far more of a guilty pleasure, as it never reaches the hilarious heights of the first one's Neeson rampage. Even so, the main reason theThe original "Taken" was a classic example of a guilty pleasure film, that somehow ceased to be guilty because so many people found pleasure in it. "Taken 2", with its incomprehensible action sequences and a script possibly dumber than the first, will be far more of a guilty pleasure, as it never reaches the hilarious heights of the first one's Neeson rampage. Even so, the main reason the first one was such a success was that we got to see Neeson kill everyone while playing it completely straight, and that's still present here. There's even an interesting inversion of the first film's premise at one point. "Taken 2" is stupider than the first film, but luckily for this series, being stupid is one of its advantages. Expand
  19. Nov 4, 2012
    5
    What Taken 2 does do is run as your average, run-of-the-mill action film, and it does this very well. The action is fantastic, with Neeson surprisingly able for someone who just turned 60 in June. Sure, the fighting, running-and-gunning aspect of Taken 2 does take a while to get going, but when it does, it plays out very well. The acting is also excellent in places; Neeson is flawless asWhat Taken 2 does do is run as your average, run-of-the-mill action film, and it does this very well. The action is fantastic, with Neeson surprisingly able for someone who just turned 60 in June. Sure, the fighting, running-and-gunning aspect of Taken 2 does take a while to get going, but when it does, it plays out very well. The acting is also excellent in places; Neeson is flawless as ever, as is Maggie Grace, playing the innocent daughter that was abducted in the first film. Rade Expand
  20. Dec 23, 2013
    5
    This movie was disappointed. I can't believe that I was pulled from solving Mathematical equations to go and watch this. This movie needed more and a proper finish.
  21. Feb 21, 2015
    5
    Unlike the first installment, 'Taken 2' has added a lot to the negative side and has not elevated its predecessor one bit. Although the Oriental setting and the vendetta-driven plot are quite appealing, the movie actually repeats itself in a variety of ways, also adding some quite laughable moments to the whole series. Liam Neeson is still strong and Rade Šerbedžija made a perfect pair forUnlike the first installment, 'Taken 2' has added a lot to the negative side and has not elevated its predecessor one bit. Although the Oriental setting and the vendetta-driven plot are quite appealing, the movie actually repeats itself in a variety of ways, also adding some quite laughable moments to the whole series. Liam Neeson is still strong and Rade Šerbedžija made a perfect pair for him, although the acting does keep a certain level of quality. With most of the complaints going towards the screenwriters, 'Taken 2' is a watchable action movie and, sadly, nothing more. Expand
  22. Jan 20, 2016
    5
    It's not like these sequels were ever needed in the first place, right? Right? Well... Taken 2 is a downfall from the Taken franchise, yet it still manages to give out its strong feeling from the first Taken.
  23. Oct 5, 2012
    4
    Released in 2008, Taken came out of nowhere to earn $145 million at the box office on just a $25 million budget. The movie-going public recognizes fresh material when they see it. Taken was original, creative, driven, and hosted one of the most memorable protagonists in recent memory. Of course they would have to make a sequel to wring some more money out of Taken's fans.

    A review of
    Released in 2008, Taken came out of nowhere to earn $145 million at the box office on just a $25 million budget. The movie-going public recognizes fresh material when they see it. Taken was original, creative, driven, and hosted one of the most memorable protagonists in recent memory. Of course they would have to make a sequel to wring some more money out of Taken's fans.

    A review of a movie sequel which starts outs praising the first installment instead of the new story is most likely not going to be very kind to the unfortunate title which ends in the number 2. Taken 2 keeps Liam Neeson as Bryan Mills, Famke Janssen as his ex-wife Lenore, and the always relentlessly annoying Maggie Grace as his daughter Kim. Rule of thumb - if Maggie Grace is cast in your film, it will probably stink. This is her second feature film in 2012, after Lockout, so she is 0-2 this year. The bad guys are also mostly the same; they are the extended family of the first group of Albanians Bryan killed after they kidnapped his daughter and sold her into sex slavery. Now they want revenge; they must honor their dead sons and brothers. It doesn't matter that their sons and brothers were human traffickers, rapists, and murderers. Family honor is family honor ya know? Bryan is growing close with his family again. After a few days of work in Istanbul as a heavily armed bodyguard, Byran invites Lenore and Kim to Turkey to take in the sights and relax in a very posh hotel. Fortunately for the Albanians, this is where they are going to kidnap Bryan, transport him back to Albania, and torture him to death. The introduction of mom and daughter is a cherry on top for the head bad guy Murad (Rade Serbedzija). He is older with grey hair; I mention this because all of the other couple dozen bad guys run together, he is the only one you will remember. In Taken, Bryan had it comparatively easy. He had one person to save and could methodically move through the ranks of thugs as he stabbed and shot his way to the top. Now, not only does he have to watch his own back, he must save both mom and daughter, sometimes alternating which one he can help at any given moment.

    The original Taken was so good because of Bryan's practical and purposeful methods of extracting information, Neeson's deadpan delivery, and the ins and out of seedy Paris locales. Now take everything which made Taken a great movie and divide it by two. You already know the story, you know Bryan will talk slowly and concisely about how he has certain skills, and this time you get to suffer a bit more because Maggie Grace gets more screen time. The camera work also takes a nosedive during hand to hand combat. The camera shakes, jumps up and down, does some jumping jacks, and the average edit is probably .002 seconds. The audience has no hope of logically following who is punching whom or where a new bad guy springs up from. Scenes where Bryan fights with a loaded pistol are much easier to watch.

    It's not that I'm mad at writer Luc Besson or director Olivier Megaton; they probably were under a lot of pressure to re-create the Taken magic. Unfortunately, they did not do a very good job. The story is only a bit laundered from the first one and everything else is merely imitation. Stay away from Taken 2, it will only remind you of its superior predecessor.
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  24. Aug 19, 2015
    4
    "Taken 2" is just basically your generic more-action less-plot summer dimwit blockbuster that is a straight forward copy of the original film, which wasn't even that great.
  25. Apr 27, 2013
    4
    Not only this sequel is unnecessary, it lacks all that which made the original outstanding. What was the original Taken about in the first place? It was about Liam Neeson kicking some serious ass in a very realistic and believable way. Here it seems like it's not Neeson himself, but his double or something. The fight scenes are awkward, poorly staged and feature an honest-to-god awfulNot only this sequel is unnecessary, it lacks all that which made the original outstanding. What was the original Taken about in the first place? It was about Liam Neeson kicking some serious ass in a very realistic and believable way. Here it seems like it's not Neeson himself, but his double or something. The fight scenes are awkward, poorly staged and feature an honest-to-god awful operator job, where you can''t really make out a single freaking thing. What's more, the dialogues are stupid and (in my opinion, at least) poorly acted out. The final nails in the coffin are bloody disgusting CG effects (I almost vomited at that car explosion) and the dumbass main villain. The thing is, the answer to this quality drop is quite obvious the director changed. Now it's Olivier Megaton, the f**khead who brought us Transporter-3, it makes sense. So please, if there'll be yet another unwanted sequel, either make it straight-to-DVD so I won't even hear of it or return Pierre Morel to the director's seat. Expand
  26. Nov 12, 2012
    4
    The whole time I was watching this movie I was waiting for the next big action scene. All I saw was a bunch of Liam Neeson chasing around his ex wife. An extremely disappointing sequel to a movie I really enjoyed.
  27. Nov 5, 2012
    4
    Taken 2 is not really a movie were you need a sequel. For me its a one liner. Its like making Titanic 2!? It runs out in cliches and do the same stuff he does in the first part. Its a okay action movie. If you can get the dvd for 5$, do it and watch it. But i don't think you'll watch it a multiple times.
  28. Apr 9, 2013
    4
    Well, you know, the first was great, but as usual sequels go on, this movie got me to think at one time "Does this even have a point?". It was kind of stupid, honestly, but because of the action sequences it brings, I'm gonna give it a 4, not to give it the red label.
  29. Jan 7, 2015
    4
    Taken 2 may not be as bad as some people have made it out to be but it is a serious downgrade from the original. i may have asked for a bigger villain and while it does deliver he and his team are really stupid villains and feel completely implausible. the action sequences aren't great and the plot doesn't have the same weight of dread the first did and even succumbs to a few plot holesTaken 2 may not be as bad as some people have made it out to be but it is a serious downgrade from the original. i may have asked for a bigger villain and while it does deliver he and his team are really stupid villains and feel completely implausible. the action sequences aren't great and the plot doesn't have the same weight of dread the first did and even succumbs to a few plot holes when it isn't lazily repeating the first film Expand
  30. Mar 23, 2016
    4
    When Taken hit screens in 2008, it benefitted from the shock of the new. Not that its content looked particularly novel. Executive producer and co-writer Luc Besson had already spent a couple of decades turning out serviceable-or-better Eurothrillers made in the model he helped create with films like La Femme Nikita. The shock came from the star doing the Eurothrilling: Liam Neeson, anWhen Taken hit screens in 2008, it benefitted from the shock of the new. Not that its content looked particularly novel. Executive producer and co-writer Luc Besson had already spent a couple of decades turning out serviceable-or-better Eurothrillers made in the model he helped create with films like La Femme Nikita. The shock came from the star doing the Eurothrilling: Liam Neeson, an actor of the first order, known for exuding introspective gentleness. Neeson was the last person most would think to cast as a pitiless killing machine, but there he was, carving his way through the Paris underworld in search of his suspiciously mature-looking teenage daughter (Maggie Grace), who’d been abducted by the sex slavers who apparently run rampant in the City Of Light.

    Part of what makes Taken so entertaining, albeit sometimes unintentionally, is the way it portrays Europe as a pit of sin filled with snares for unsuspecting American innocents abroad. (Kind of like a Henry James novel, but with a lot more forced prostitution.) The rest of its appeal comes from the unapologetic simplicity of its plot, its propulsive pace, and the way Neeson took to both, bringing unsmiling gravity to what could have been a dull role. Since then, the shock has worn off. Neeson continued to explore the action world in films that are striking (The Grey), dull (Unknown), or perfunctory (The A-Team). This, it seems, is what Neeson does now, and his return to his Taken role offers few surprises.

    The film also lacks the efficiency and relentlessness of the original. Back in the States and mending fences with ex-wife Famke Janssen and Grace, Neeson seems more worried about his daughter’s dating habits than the possibility of the Albanian father of one of the first film’s villains targeting him for revenge. That, it turns out, is a mistake, as is Janssen and Grace’s decision to join Neeson in Istanbul, where he has a few days to himself after finishing a security detail. What begins as a family outing, with a hint of rekindled romance between the parents, devolves into kidnapping (the word “taken” gets thrown about liberally), torture, high-speed chases, and other misadventures probably not smiled upon by the Turkish Board Of Tourism.

    None of it is particularly novel or exciting. Stepping in for Pierre Morel, Olivier Megaton (The Transporter 3) brings a workmanlike, mostly coherent approach to the action scenes, and there’s a clever sequence in which Neeson helps Grace find him through a crude form of echolocation involving a map, a felt-tip pen, and some hand grenades. The only real innovation is in making Neeson’s adventure a family affair, but that mostly involves making him bark driving instructions at Grace as they tear through Istanbul’s obstacle-strewn, chase-friendly streets. Otherwise, it’s business as usual for the Besson machine, distinguished only by the star working the levers. Neeson’s Jason Statham-ization continues apace, but it’s looking less and less like a welcome development.
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  31. Mar 27, 2016
    4
    At a time when iconic action heroes are few and far between, Bryan Mills stands tall — and not just because he’s 6’ 4”. He’s a taciturn, leather-jacketed super-soldier-turned-bodyguard who begins 70 per cent of his sentences with the words, “Listen to me very carefully...” He’s killed more people than you’ve had hot dinners, and probably some of them with hot dinners. Not to mention hisAt a time when iconic action heroes are few and far between, Bryan Mills stands tall — and not just because he’s 6’ 4”. He’s a taciturn, leather-jacketed super-soldier-turned-bodyguard who begins 70 per cent of his sentences with the words, “Listen to me very carefully...” He’s killed more people than you’ve had hot dinners, and probably some of them with hot dinners. Not to mention his very particular set of skills, which make him a nightmare for anyone foreign and in need of a shave. Yet there’s also an endearing awkwardness that sets him apart from all those other one-man armies. At heart he’s a worrywart, constantly fretting about his family’s safety but mostly embarrassing them in the process. The kind of guy who secretly installs a GPS chip in his daughter’s phone, and who thinks a karaoke machine will make a brilliant birthday present.

    All these qualities earned Mills, as played with pleasingly poker-faced intensity by Liam Neeson, a large following when Taken came out in 2008. No-one was more surprised than Neeson himself, who recently admitted he’d expected it to go straight to DVD. Instead it made $227 million worldwide, turned him into a late-in-life action star and made the sequel an inevitability. Sadly for those fans, Taken 2 fails to go bigger, badder, better. Instead, it retains all the twitchy xenophobia of the original — sending the all-American, occasionally-Irish-accented Mills to Istanbul, another foreign city seemingly lousy with lowlifes — while dropping the ball on all the OTT action that made Taken so much fun.

    Blame must be laid at the feet of director Olivier Megaton (the man behind Transporter 3 and Colombiana, replacing Taken’s Pierre Morel), who has an excellent name but fists of ham when it comes to lensing combat. Time and again Mills faces off against foes, only for the resulting scraps to unfold so confusingly — thanks to shakycam, overcranking and merciless strobe-cuts — that it appears he’s editing people to death. It might be to disguise the fact that Neeson, who’s just turned 60, isn’t exactly Jet Li. Or it could be because crucial shots have been excised to secure a 12A rating (the original was 15, with an 18 director's cut). Yet even the film’s big car chase, which recycles an oft-seen oncoming-train stunt, requires serious concentration to follow.

    There’s a potentially interesting plot wrinkle, in that the villains this time aren’t random baddies but relatives of the scumbags our hero dispatched in Part 1. Accordingly, the hunter has become the hunted, as vengeful Balkan gangster Murad (Rade Sherbedgia) sets out to acquire a very particular set of Mills. With Bryan and his ex-wife kidnapped, and daughter Kim (Maggie Grace — 28 playing 19) their only hope of rescue, the set-up of the first movie is neatly inverted. But co-writers Luc Besson and Robert Mark Kamen haven’t come up with enough cool things for the beleaguered family to do. It’s enjoyably ludicrous that Mills’ method of drawing Kim to their location involves her flinging grenades around in a city centre — if more than a bit out of character for the world’s most over-protective father — but mostly what we get is a lot of yawny rooftop parkour and generic alley take-downs.

    Despite the fact that the filmmakers miss a trick in not giving him a quotable speech to match his “I will find you...” monologue from the original, Neeson is still the redeeming feature. He commits to lines such as, “When a dog has a bone, the last thing you should try to do is take it from him,” as if it’s Chekhov, and invests his cartoonishly lethal character with cheerably gruff gravitas. He’s always watchable. It’s just a shame, then, that he’s stuck in such a rote adventure, pitted against a bunch of witless, bland Albanian thugs (who, after Dredd and The Expendables 2, are the third villainous gang this summer to be identifiable by their tattoos). There might still be a future for Mills — or a past; might we suggest a prequel with Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter’s Neeson-a-like Benjamin Walker? — but it’ll need to be much better thought-out than this.

    The first one offered the novel sight of Oskar Schindler going Commando. Unfortunately, this half-hearted sequel is low on novelty and lower on fun.
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Metascore
45

Mixed or average reviews - based on 35 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 8 out of 35
  2. Negative: 8 out of 35
  1. Reviewed by: Richard Corliss
    Oct 8, 2012
    70
    Somehow Neeson makes the ridiculous plausible. A mature, real man in an era of superhero fantasy, he radiates something rare in movie musclemen: a haunted gravity to match his outsize physique.
  2. Reviewed by: Scott Bowles
    Oct 7, 2012
    63
    The first half of Taken 2 is a serviceable action flick, but the second half descends into cliches.
  3. Reviewed by: Andrew O'Hehir
    Oct 6, 2012
    30
    Luc Besson and Liam Neeson and the rest of the furriners who made the inept and offensive Taken 2 don't seem to have gotten the memo from Jason Bourne: Americans don't think our spooks are good guys anymore.