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STAR RATINGS EXPLAINED
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Good 3 Stars
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Tragic 1 Star

POSTER ART
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FILM DETAILS
Certificate
12A
Cast
Liam Neeson
Famke Janssen
Maggie Grace
Rade Serbedzija
Luke Grimes.
Directors
Olivier Megaton.
Screenwriters
Robert Mark Kamen
Luc Besson.
Running Time
90 minutes

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Taken 2
Mills and boom


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Plot
Can the same shit happen to the same dad twice? Turns out it can, as Bryan Mills (Neeson) runs foul of shady foreigners once again. Only this time, he and his ex-wife (Janssen) are taken, and it’s their daughter (Grace) who must come to their aid...


Review
Taken 2
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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 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.


Verdict
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.


Reviewed by Nick de Semlyen

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Your Reviews

Average user rating for Taken 2
Empire Star Rating

Taken 2

From Taken to Taken 2 nothing much changes in the base plot -it's Bryan 's wife taken this time instead of his daughter and its a moment of revenge for the families who lost their dears in Bryan 's bullet festival happened in Paris to retrieve Kim. Taken 2 is no rocket science, it never meant to be. It might question your logic many times because it had to. http://www.filmwaves.in/2013/01/taken-2.html ... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by ajm1991 at 15:54, 09 January 2013 | Report This Post


RE: Taken 2

Taken 2 How can the same shit happen to the same guy twice? get a new line of work maybe. Neeson is back and he's badder than before, well not really but he still kicks ass at his ripe old age and he hasn't forgotten his black leather coat either. Follow up to the very good original and your first thoughts are is this really needed?. The first film was a kind of slick 'Ronin' kick ass machine but can you really do the same again without it being a rehash? well yes and no. Its a n... More

Posted by Phubbs at 05:21, 09 December 2012 | Report This Post


RE: Taken 2

I avoided the first Taken after I read about how bad it was in EMPIRE. Then someone lent me a copy and… I thought it was one of the funniest things I’d ever seen. I was actually surprised how po-faced EMPIRE was about it at the time. While clearly thick-ear garbage aimed squarely at the Nuts-“reading” Jason Statham crowd, I thought it was slyly satirical thick-ear garbage aimed squarely at the Nuts-“reading” Jason Statham crowd. Where EMPIRE saw racism and xenophobia I saw a French f... More

Posted by chris kilby at 16:59, 31 October 2012 | Report This Post


Dump

Probably the worst film I've watched in the cinema in the last 5 years (Transformers 2 never happened, honest) ... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by Jack'sSmirkinRevenge at 12:51, 31 October 2012 | Report This Post


Taken 2 an uneasy relationship

First and foremost I admired Taken (2008), as a slick piece of Thriller filmmaking that, in spite of heavy handed stereotypes, was memorable, aggressive and adrenaline-fueled. So comes this sequel that really should not have being, I mean Taken was in many ways a one concept film, even Neeson admits it ("what she gets Taken again"). So what of this sequel, well first off it is no way as memorable or accomplished as the first. Secondly Megaton (despite his brilliant last name) was the w... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by JJB888 at 14:08, 11 October 2012 | Report This Post


Good.

Very entertaining like the 2st but lacked as much action, Deffo worth watching though. Good old fashioned goodies vs Baddies! ... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by AntGC at 16:45, 10 October 2012 | Report This Post


tp://www.imdb.com/title/tt1397280/]Taken 2njoyable sequel to a great first part from 2008. Of course it`s more of the same but in this case that isn`t a problem at all. We`ve seen it before, although the action this time around has taken (no pun intended ;)) a step back from last time. That is "thanks" to the direction and editing wich are so hasty and at times almost unfollowable, with the Istanbul car chase as a low point: edited so super fast you can`t possibly see what`s going on. ... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by TheGodfather at 22:16, 09 October 2012 | Report This Post


RE: woeful

Pretty obvious where a third film would probably go...either make it about different characters and cash in on the brand or somebody who i] part of Neeson's family gets 'taken' and a person with the right set of skills is needed, thereby cashing in on the star. ... More

Posted by jobloffski at 12:53, 09 October 2012 | Report This Post


RE: woeful

OH WELL! Looks like The Yanks have fallen for it again $50m box-office openinghan double the far superior original spose we can now look forward to numbers 2,3 etc ... More

Posted by Wild about Wilder at 10:13, 09 October 2012 | Report This Post


RE: woeful

I liked the film, it had a different feel to the first film and I think that's partly down to it being set in Istanbul but it does lack the punch of the first film. nd have the element of surprise on its side and like the guy setting off a party popper at a party it surprises you, but once he does it again you're no longer surprised, just indifferent. I think the toned down approach here doesn't help but I felt overall the first film was just a bit more suspensful and terse, not to mention fren... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by Emyr Thy King at 01:23, 09 October 2012 | Report This Post


woeful

beyond boring ... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by tysmuse at 00:00, 08 October 2012 | Report This Post


RE: Taken 2

I've been a very vocal critic on here about empires ridiculously po faced review of Taken, but they got the score for this one dead right. So many things wrong here: It takes an absolute bloody age to get in to the action. I go see a Taken film to watch Neeson snapping necks (didn't even get that this time), not watch half an hour of setting the bloody scene first. We get it, Mills is useless with his daughter and way too over-protective, we dont need it ramming down our throats. ... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by attakdog at 16:33, 06 October 2012 | Report This Post


RE: Taken 2

Ugh, it's all so bloodless. Liam Neeson practically hugs the bad guys to death. His dispatching of the main villian doesn't even look like he did kill him. Part of the fun of Taken was that it was down and dirty. Take that that away and what have you got? Well, you've got Taken 2. ... More

Posted by jcthefirst at 10:25, 06 October 2012 | Report This Post


"Yeah, nasty forrins!"

My biggest beef with the film? It's entirely joyless. As much as Neeson looks outraged and vengeful, and as much as his adversaries are painted as 'not very nice people', I found no real engagement in him systematically killing them. If anything, it seems to get grubbier with each Albanian body hitting the floor. All (ALL) the bad guys in Taken 2 are crudely drawn stereotypes, straight from the imaginations of Eastern-European-fearing Daily Mail readers. Naturally, Neeson's character kills them... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by TheMightyBlackout at 23:24, 05 October 2012 | Report This Post


RE: Taken 2

L: Wild about Wilder Would be interesting to know what was cut out so as it could get a 12a? ccording to the BBFC, they informed Fox that to get a 12A they'd have to reduce 'elements of violence and threat'. Violence is likely to be blood spurts or any bones breaking (necks especially) and threat could be a gun or a knife too close to someone's face. It's clear to me that Fox saw the film was a bit of a sinker so wanted an unneeded 12A cert to get more cash. Fox have messed this o... More

Posted by Shifty Bench at 22:50, 05 October 2012 | Report This Post


Gash gash gash

3 word review ... More

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Posted by Bliff at 22:48, 05 October 2012 | Report This Post


RE: Taken 2

Would be interesting to know what was cut out so as it could get a 12a? Thought it was pretty poor really what with the poor direction, cinematogrophy & editing it was like watching a very poor Segal straight to DVD what with the speeded up fight scenes & I say this because I really enjoyed the 1st film & had hoped this would be more of the same alas it was not to be. A dissapointing 5/10 bly 1 more than I should give it as am hopeing for a more adult directors cut when it goes to DVD) ... More

Posted by Wild about Wilder at 17:26, 05 October 2012 | Report This Post


RE: Taken 2

Bryan Mills is performing a security mission in Istanbul. He is surprised to be met by his daughter Kim and his ex-wife Lenore at the hotel. He is unaware that the bad guys from the first movie are seeking revenge for the death of their brothers and sons at his very hands. He had to free his daughter from a human trafficking organisation by killing these men. Now they are prepared to ambush him in Istanbul by interrogating someone that knows him. While Bryan and Lenore leave Kim at the hotel, t... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by Dr Lenera at 07:40, 05 October 2012 | Report This Post


RE: Taken 2

L: Cool Breeze L: Rgirvan44 L: Cool Breeze Hmmm.. guess il wait for the uncut dvd edition.A pity as there doesnt seem to be any other decent action films out for the rest of this year. ni Sol 4!!!!!! orgot about that one.Really enjoyed Uni Sol regeneration but the trailer for the new one isnt really doing it for me.Is it out before the end of the year? nd of this month I think ... More

Posted by Rgirvan44 at 22:07, 04 October 2012 | Report This Post


RE: Taken 2

L: Rgirvan44 L: Cool Breeze Hmmm.. guess il wait for the uncut dvd edition.A pity as there doesnt seem to be any other decent action films out for the rest of this year. ni Sol 4!!!!!! orgot about that one.Really enjoyed Uni Sol regeneration but the trailer for the new one isnt really doing it for me.Is it out before the end of the year? ... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by Cool Breeze at 22:04, 04 October 2012 | Report This Post


RE: Taken 2

L: Cool Breeze Hmmm.. guess il wait for the uncut dvd edition.A pity as there doesnt seem to be any other decent action films out for the rest of this year. ni Sol 4!!!!!! ... More

Posted by Rgirvan44 at 21:55, 04 October 2012 | Report This Post


RE: Taken 2

Hmmm.. guess il wait for the uncut dvd edition.A pity as there doesnt seem to be any other decent action films out for the rest of this year. ... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by Cool Breeze at 21:40, 04 October 2012 | Report This Post


RE: Taken 2

When the Luc Besson-produced action thriller Taken became a major hit and gained a cult following since its 2008 release, no one was more surprised than its star Liam Neeson, who initially saw it as a straight-to-video piece, and is now redefined as a late action star. Despite its success, Taken didn’t really shout out for a sequel, given that it was a brainless shooter with a level of unintentional funniness; and yet Neeson’s set of skills are seen again. Receiving a surprise visit from h... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by R W at 18:31, 04 October 2012 | Report This Post


so its 1 star better than the first film? ... More

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Posted by billypunk at 14:01, 01 October 2012 | Report This Post


RE: Taken 2.

L: Emyr Thy King L: AxlReznor Exactly. No one who sees these movies is led to believe that the entire country is full of kidnappers who ply women with drugs and force them into the sex trade. Only that it does happen, and as that's what the movie's about, that's what it's going to show you more of. The same way Trainspotting didn't lead anyone to believe that everyone in Scotland is a heroin addict... and Warrior King didn't lead anyone to believe that all of Australia steals ele... More

Posted by paulyboy at 16:51, 28 September 2012 | Report This Post


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