In 2008 Liam Neeson’s career was about to take a massive turning point, one which would have an everlasting effect on audiences familiar with his work. Already holding an impressive résumé of films to his name, now aged 56, Liam’s latest agreement was to see him become a lead man for the action film “Taken”. The film not usually associated to Liam’s previous genres would start a chain reaction of the type of scripts which were to follow.
Following the undisputed box office success which “Taken” eventually achieved, Liam’s portrayal of retired CIA agent, Bryan Mills left viewers shocked and wanting more. It would only become a matter of time before they got what they wanted and their four year wait would finally be rewarded.
"Taken 2” reunites Liam with Famke Janssen (Lenore) and Maggie Grace (Kim) visiting Istanbul blissfully all unaware their being targeted as the next victims for kidnapping. Seeking revenge for the death of son as a result of Bryan’s rampage through France, Murad (Rade Serbedzija) wants to see Bryan suffer in the same way. Using his “particular set of skills” Bryan in a chase across Istanbul must put an end to the terror before it’s too late.
Review by Mike Jonas
Like most I’d become instantly excited over the news that a sequel was in production, the thought of Liam’s return as Bryan Mills for more angered antics was not one to be missed…….or so I thought. The film now directed by Olivier Megaton (Transporter 3) replaces Pierre Moral who set the bar high with what could be done and what to expect. Despite having the third instalment of the transporter franchise under his belt this wouldn’t necessarily guarantee Olivier the same success for “Taken 2”.
With any sequel made today the natural expectancy is for bigger and better things, to introduce something new and unfamiliar. However there’s nothing to say everything new is destined to work, one of the factors I’m referring too on this occasion is the uncomfortable use of humour. Liam has proven countless times he’s capable of anything, but with a character as tightly wound as this, it came across as an unconvincing attempt feeling almost awkward at times.
Although it was nice to have the original cast back together to recreate the “genuine” family connection, it’s only fair they should be more screen time this time round. Saying that the introduction of this decision meant at some points throughout the film some of the action involved one of the Actresses (I won’t spoil it too much for you) which appeared to be holding Liam back from fully unleashing.
It is clear from the first instalment; Liam’s devotion to creating believable fight scenes were a priority to develop the special skills mentioned early on in the film. A significant lack of this seemed to be present second time round as the fight scenes featured are partially ruined through erratic editing. This in itself creates confusion of who’s hitting who half the time thus destroying one of the influencing elements to lure its target audience back.
There is a point in the film where Liam quotes “All I want is for this to be over, I’m tired”. I have to wonder whether this clever dialogue plus the exhausted appearance of Liam acted as an ideal cover for how he really felt. Given the reaction of others I can’t say I was surprised feeling fortunate the only thing “taken” from me was my time…
Review by Nicola Johnston
Taken 2 is a fast-paced, high-octane action film set in Istanbul. Lets start with some positive notes, for all those action fans out there, will relish this film and its many different action sequences, including car chases, roof top chases and even a one on one good old fashioned fisticuffs fight and of course for all the Liam Neeson fans, who will also love this film because he is in it and enjoy the gravitas he brings to the screen. If you liked the first film you are sure to enjoy this instalment.
However you may also be a little disappointed as it’s not as good as the first film and here comes the flip side to my review. The script is functional at best, causing outbursts of laughter from the audience, granted parts of the film are meant to be humorous but not ridiculous surely! The characters are sadly all one dimensional, Liam Neeson gets away with it because he is a great and well known actor, with huge screen presence and it is him alone that makes the film worth watching. It is shot well with some interesting locations, also the grading of the film is rather good. Also the relationship between Neeson and Maggie Grace (Kim) is touching at times with good chemistry between the actors.
I suspect it will go down much easier on DVD with a few beers and a large slice of pizza with extra cheese on top.
Taken 2 will be hitting UK cinemas nationwide on 4th October