Now Neeson’s Wife Has Been ‘Taken 2′

by Eric Melin on October 5, 2012

in Reviews,Video Reviews

This review originally appeared in shorter form on KSNT-NBC, KTKA-ABC, and KTMJ-FOX, Kansas First News.

taken-2-poster-2012-liam-neesonOne year after her best friend died from a forced drug overdose at the hands of the men who kidnapped them both for an Albanian human trafficking ring in Taken, the biggest problem that Kim Mills (Maggie Grace) has is failing her driver’s license test. That, and an overprotective father who tortured and killed scores of men to free her and is worried about her having a boyfriend.

Liam Neeson is back in Taken 2, which has no interest in the psychological state of Kim or her retired CIA agent father after the horrible events of the first movie. It takes place only one year later in the movies’ timeline, yet it barely seems to register on their minds!

No, instead this bland and uninvolving action sequel (directed by Olivier Megaton) dispenses with the setup as quickly as possible to get Neeson’s wife and daughter (Famke Janssen) to Istanbul, where they can be taken too. Fair enough.

No complicated plot to spoil here—the Albanian Mafia wants revenge.

subway-liam-neeson-gun-taken-2-2012But what’s the first thing they do after kidnapping Neeson and his wife? Chain them up and leave, giving them ample time to escape, of course. It’s one series of dumb and overly convenient action scenes after another for the better part of the movie.

That’s the kind of logic we’re dealing with in Taken 2, which fails critically even in the action department, thanks to lots of confusingly fast zooms and rapid-fire cuts, making it virtually impossible to tell who’s hitting or shooting at who.

grace-neeson-hug-taken-2-movie-reviewI’m all for implausible and efficient action movies, especially when they’re big and ridiculous and having fun. But there’s nothing to Taken 2, which is downbeat and deadly serious—except for one memorable car chase in the middle of the film.

Earlier this year Eurotrash action producer Luc Besson (who is responsible for Taken and Taken 2 but also has a handful of good movies under his belt as a director) produced the lame-brained Lockout, which tried in vain to have a Die Hard-style sense of humor, though, so this proves that he’s inept on the serious and tongue-in-cheek sides of the action fence.

The best thing I can say about this movie is that at 90 minutes, Taken 2 is mercifully short.

Eric is the Editor-in-Chief of and writes the Screen Stealers column for The Pitch. He’s President of the KCFCC, and drummer for The Dead Girls and Ultimate Fakebook. He is also Air Guitar World Champion Mean Melin. Eric goes to 11. Follow him at:

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{ 7 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Reed October 5, 2012 at 3:30 am

There’s no way I’ll be “taken in” again on this one after sitting through the “horrible events of the first movie.” The horrible events were not the rampant torture and murder, but the frequent insults directed at the intelligence of the viewing public. Thanks for “taking one for the team” here, Eric. (I am now all out of puns for this Friday, but I assume you liked this comment more than anything in Taken 2. You’re welcome.)


2 Eric Melin October 5, 2012 at 10:32 am

Ha ha! I did, thanks. Yeah, sometimes it’s easy to use the puns, especially with bad movies.


3 Jon Niccum October 5, 2012 at 9:31 am

I think the phrase “overly convenient action scenes” really nails why most of the film isn’t very effective.


4 Eric Melin October 5, 2012 at 10:32 am

Thanks, Jon! Drop a link to your review in here, would ya?


5 Jimmyrhall October 6, 2012 at 12:11 pm

At least at 90 minutes it didn’t Taken 2 long to get through….


6 rory October 21, 2012 at 1:14 pm

When I first heard there was a sequel I imagined what the pre-production meeting sounded like..”Well, how about they take his wife!” – only they forgot to ask and answer the important question – “and then what happens?”

Points well taken in your assessment here. “Downbeat and deadly serious” nicely put. I actually have to say I disagree with you on Lockout though – I mean sure it’s divisive, predictable and borrows so heavily from other films as to appear like one of those see through film overlays where you can connect the plot points to get to the car chase but, and this is where I think Taken and Lockout are actually successful even if the latter didn’t show it in box office receipts, because they share a kind of functioning dysfunctionalism whereby the frontman (Liam and Guy) makes all the ridiculousness somewhat entertaining. Like the new Bond which is almost unrecognizable to the old Bonds but for some reason people just don’t mind there is no sex in the secret service any more.

The really sad news is that I hear there is a Taken 3 on the horizon. What was it that Terry Gilliam said about feeding mainstream audiences baby food (bad films that is) pretty soon they don’t know the difference.


7 Eric Melin October 23, 2012 at 11:59 am

Rory- Thanks for your comments. The ridiculousness in ‘Lockout’ and ‘Taken 2′ were very different approaches. at least in ‘Taken 2′ it wasn’t that Neeson and crew were trying deliberately to be funny. Now, that said, speaking of ridiculousness, Gilliam doing ‘Taken 3′ — that’s a movie I could get excited about. I wonder if a studio head would ever try to lure a crazy auteur like Gilliam into turning a franchise like this one on its head. That would be interesting.


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