Well, at least Harrison Ford is now reprieved, as he is no longer the only action hero who constantly wants his family back. Director Olivier Megaton takes over from Pierre Morel to bring us the highly anticipated sequel to the 2008 hit Taken. This instalment sees retired CIA field operative Bryan Mills (Liam Neeson) return to action and take to the streets ofIstanbul after the head of the Albanian mafia hunts him down to avenge the death of his son.
Just like Taken, Taken 2 is cheesy, action-packed, and absurdly enjoyable. On paper it should be awful. The plot is uninspiring – cringe-worthy at times; the acting is sketchy at best, and the direction is a little disgraceful. But, it somehow works together to become a rather brilliant guilty pleasure.
Whether it's Liam Neeson's accent breaking throughout, or his daughter randomly throwing grenades from rooftops for around ten minutes, this picture will definitely leave you feeling amused and, actually, quite satisfied. Taken 2 is never going to be considered as a great action film, or as a wonderful pie
ce of cinema. That's because it is not meant to be. The charm of Taken 2 comes from the fact that it doesn't take itself seriously and, frankly, who would want it to?
One pleasant surprise to come out of the film was the performance of veteran Croatian actor Rade Serbedzija. Serbedzija's performance is straight and serious. The film is balanced by his performance. His sincere menace – and downright evil – character is a necessary dramatic counter-point to the protagonists busy pretending to be Jason Bourne. If anything, he is not in the film enough. It is disappointing because he is an mature, talented actor, proven in his performances in Snatch and Before The Rain. Further, it is disappointing because Taken did not give much backstory to its villains, so it would have been interesting – and probably beneficial if they want to turn this in to a franchise (and don’t they always?) – for the writers to delve into a backstory, to lend some substance to the antagonists of the story.
Taken 2 does what it sets out to do. To provide action, enjoyment, and a look at a life where an angry man’s family keep randomly getting kidnapped, and it does it successfully.
Taken 2 is In Movie House theatres across Belfast from October 5th. For listings click here.