Neeson nails it
Release Date: October 5
Studio: 20th Century Fox
Chuck Norris can slam a revolving door, but he can't kill Liam Neeson.
Liam Neeson (Taken) is back and full-blown in the sequel to the 2008 Hollywood hit Taken. The second film in this series is another pure action flick with brilliant camera work and big effects that make for an exciting and worthwhile theatre experience.
What Taken 2 lacks as far as character development and memorable dialogue is made up for with intense action sequences of Neeson doing what he does best - ending and saving lives.
In the film, Bryan Mills (Neeson) once again must use his notoriously particular set of skills to save not only his daughter but also his wife and himself as they face the same band of kidnapping thugs from the first film.
Mills is a protective father who must rescue his daughter from an illegal sex trade after she is kidnapped on a vacation to Paris. He uses his CIA training to kill plenty of villains before returning to California with his daughter and his ex-wife in tow.
Taken 2brings viewers right back into Mills' family life, where relations with his ex-wife are even better and their love is rekindled. Other side stories that add family intimacy include Mills' anxieties about his daughter's new boyfriend and her failure to pass a road test for her license.
However, what seems like a pleasant new beginning for Mills quickly turns sour.
On a surprise visit to see daddy on a business trip in Istanbul, Turkey, the Mills girls are in for disaster when all three members of the family are "taken."
This time around, the villains are after Mills for the murder of their family members from the first film, and they want revenge.
Mills and his girls are separated, and it is ultimately Mills - and Mills alone - who must save them from what seems to be guaranteed death.
Taken 2, like its predecessor, is all about the action. Going to see a movie like this should not be a decision made in hopes of a rich storytelling experience where characters are masterfully developed with stylistic grace and beautiful dialogue.
Director Olivier Megaton (Colombiana) does a wonderful job portraying the city of Istanbul. What both Taken films have really used to their advantage are their beautiful set locations and excellent use of each city's architecture. The narrow streets and accessible rooftops in this film make for excellent chase scenes.
The film hits its peak when Mills goes against a large group of his foes alone and handles them all fairly easily. It's exciting, and the fast paced action does the job of keeping the rest of the plot interesting.
Mills' street knowledge is unbelievable and he shows it off numerous times in the film. While Mills' action scenes are entertaining and spectacular, at age 60, his fighting skills can seem a bit too impressive.
Certain serious scenes of the film seem unrealistic and Mills' invincibility is almost comedic. And though Mills does get away with a bit much at times, the film would lose a lot of flare, and ultimately fun, if those scenes had been watered down.
Neeson has definitely become a standard tough guy in the industry through this series and other films like 2011's The Grey. He is a locked victory for father of the year with Taken 2, a repeat victory in this category for him.
It's good to see an older guy handling everyone like a young Jason Bourne. Taken 2 is the movie that will have audience members strutting out of the theater harnessing their inner CIA agents.
While the film does little work to teach us anything more than we already know about this very unlucky family, it provides what movies should give us - entertainment.
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