Taken 2 (2012)
I was a bit worried about this movie way back when I heard they were making a sequel to the pretty successful Taken , as I didn't see how they could go about making a new addition to the line without it feeling like a cop-out to try and earn more money. Well, they managed to make a mix bag here, and the end result is still an enjoyable movie. Of course, I'm sure many a person will flock to any movie with Liam Neeson, the guy is crazy good at what he does after all!
Years after the ordeal of the first Taken , in which Bryan Mills (Liam Neeson) set out to save his daughter Kim (Maggie Grace) from a foreign kidnapping ring with a very unique set of skills, the family is getting along as any family would. Bryan is still close to his daughter and his ex-wife Lenore (Framke Janssen), and does what you would expect of an over-protective action hero type father (background checking boyfriends and all that). When Lenore and Kim's plans to go on vacation are ruined, Bryan offers for them to come up and visit him after his job an Istanbul is finished, where they can enjoy the place in style instead. Meanwhile, in the background, Murad Krasniqi (Rade Serbedzija) has decided that someone must pay for the deaths of his son (and the sons of others) who ran the kidnapping ring in the first film - and who better to pay then Bryan, the man who killed them? Thus begins another action packed movie as the revenge-motivated bad guy kidnaps and tries to kill Bryan and the rest of his family, leading to some tense situations and some fun action moments.
Really, it's funny to note that it ends up feeling very similar to the first movie - with the exception of the wife playing the role of the daughter in the first movie (spending the most time kidnapped), and during the first half of the kidnapped scenario the daughter plays helper through various Bryan-guided actions and car-chase scenes. The latter part of the movie (the final kidnap scenario section) plays out incredibly straightforward where its just Bryan doing what he does best, in a more familiar set to the first movie (one person kidnapped, going to get them no matter what it takes). The plot is straightforward and it does make use of some very old cliches (particularly at the end of the movie) that anyone who's seen an action movie in the last couple of decades can call before it happens.
Character wise, we don't really see much in the lines of development for say - although being an action-esque movie, we don't normally expect a whole lot of the character department anyways. We can see a bit of a better bonding between the family by the end, and we can see a bit of how Bryan is "getting tired" of all this stuff that keeps happening, but it's at its heart an action movie with a very forward and direct purpose. Being in a modern setting, everyone again looks like they belong, but because of it there isn't much of note to mention when it comes to the terms of the costume department. The setting of Istanbul, however, is absolutely gorgeous, and some people may find themselves wishing to go on vacation there because of it.
Sound wise, volume levels seem to be quite in check. While listening to someone talk, we never get deafened by the first gunshot or carcrash to follow, and likewise we don't find ourselves having to turn up the volume after a dramatic score to hear a conversation being carried out. The actors do a wonderful job of delivering their lines, with only some minor oddness played out at the very end on the part of Lenore (chalk it up to character stress?), although as far as the musical scores go they are largely forgettable. Don't get me wrong, they help add to the feeling of the scene, enhancing the on-screen content, its just nothing as catchy as some of the songs you hear in other movies that make you walk away whistling them for weeks.
What it comes down to for this flick, is if you're looking for an enjoyable action flick, or something that matches up to the original Taken , then this is probably well worth a watch. If you're not real big into action movies, or things that aren't super-heavy character driven or highly intricate plots, it might not be something you want to go out and buy. It has thriller aspects (although I feel it has a bit more action to it opposed to the original), and a well done cast, with some spectacular action scenes and that Liam Neeson fella (you know a lot of you want to watch it just because of that) while being done in a relatively believable fashion (a bit of army-of-one craziness with the main character, but that's any action movie) that should keep your interest.