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The Independent Critic

Liam Neeson, Maggie Grace, Famke Janssen, D.B. Sweeney, Jon Gries, Luenell
Olivier Megaton
Luc Besson, Robert Mark Kamen
Rated PG-13
91 MIns.
20th Century Fox

  • Includes Both the Theatrical Version and Extended Cut of the Film
  • Extended Cut Audio Commentary by Director Perre Morel, Cinematographer Michel Abramowicz and Car Stunt Supervisor Michel Julienne
  • Extended Cut Audio Commentary by Co-Screenwriter Robert Mark Kamen
  • Le Making-of Featurette
  • Avant Premiere Featurette
  • Inside Action Side-by-Side Scene Comparisons

 "Taken 2" Works Better Because of Liam Neeson 
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I admit it.

I have a weakness for Luc Besson films. It doesn't matter if he's the director, the producer, the writer ... Heck, Besson could probably be the caterer on a film and I'd find myself enjoying it.

Taken 2 isn't a masterpiece by any stretch of the imagination, but it is a perfectly fine run-of-the-mill action flick during a season that hasn't really being seeing much in the way of decent action. Liam Neeson is back, never a bad thing, Taken 2 is good enough that it practically guarantees a Taken 3 as long as Neeson is along for the ride because, quite honestly, it's hard to imagine even this mostly functional action flick working at all without the actor. Neeson gives Bryan Mills a rather surprising amount of credibility and believability despite, for the most part, doing things that aren't particularly credible or believable.

That's what a good actor does. A good actor makes even average material better.

In this film, the Albanian baddie, played by Rade Serbedzija, whom Mills crossed in Taken is out to get revenge and so he comes at Mills, along with Mills' ex-wife (Famke Janssen) and daughter (Maggie Grace) while they're on vacation in Turkey. If you're looking for logic as to why someone who'd already pissed off an entire underworld of Albanians would think it a good idea to vacation in not so far away Turkey, then you're already putting more thought into Taken 2 than it actually deserves.

Let it go. Just surrender.

This is one of those films that I wouldn't dare argue about nor would I bother to defend my ever so modest recommendation. It's my guess that I'll be one of the few film critics who will give the film even a modest recommendation. I'm guessing that most will likely find it lacking the spark and originality of the first film.

By the way, that's a bit absurd because Taken wasn't really that original of a film. As is true here, it was an average film that was made infinitely better by Neeson's presence. This time around, it feels less fresh because we know the character of Bryan Mills and we by now can accept that Neeson can pull off the whole action star gig.

The odds are pretty strong that if you enjoyed the first Taken that you will find yourself enjoying this moderately less involving and exciting carbon copy. Neeson is as strong as ever, while both Famke Janssen and Maggie Grace do a nice job here of being both beautiful and believable. This isn't a film you're going to remember much about a few hours after seeing it, but it's a good enough popcorn flick that you'll likewise not regret having given Neeson and company a couple hours of your time.

© Written by Richard Propes
The Independent Critic