You can debate for hours what film started the “aged” action star trend in action films, but it can be said that “Taken” was one of the forerunners. Blending high stakes action with good drama, with an actor who can do both, it was an instant hit.
Naturally, when I heard there was going to be a sequel, I was a little wary at first, but was won over by the trailers. Coming out of the film, I can say it was well worth the anticipation.
“Taken 2” picks up a couple of years after the events of the first film. Liam Neeson reprises his role as ex-CIA agent Bryan Mills as he, his daughter, played by Maggie Grace, and his ex-wife, played by Famke Jannsen are trying to lead semi-normal lives.
They then become the target of a new gang of criminals led by Murad Krasniqi, played by Rade Serbedzija, whose son was killed by Mills during the events of the first film.
Let me first say that this film does require you to do a little homework, as it doesn’t do any recaps of any kind. One could go into it not having seen the first, but they wouldn’t be able to understand or appreciate some elements in the film.
That said, “Taken 2” effectively builds upon what was established in the previous film, with many of the past events still fresh in the character’s minds.
In addition to Neeson being the usual action hero, we see Grace’s character actually being fairly active in the events of this film.
There is also a good layer of cerebral action elements in addition to the physical action, making it come off like “Splinter Cell.” While parts of the film are a bit of a rehash, it’s a very well written rehash.
The way the film is shot and edited is akin to most action films, but doesn’t suffer through a lot of the technical pitfalls I’ve seen.
There’s no super-shaky cam, nor are there any pointless slow-mo sequences. A lot of the more intense action scenes happen in the blink of an eye, and the editing seems to reflect that. No shots are kept on screen for too long and the cutting allows for some fast-paced, but really intense action sequences.
On the other hand, there are some editing choices in the beginning that were a little iffy to me. I know you don’t want to have your opening credits to be too long, but there could have been a little more build up in the beginning. The rest of the film, however, has a very smooth pace to it.
Overall, “Taken 2” is an incredible film and a great follow-up to the original. It successfully continues the story and builds upon the elements from the first film.
There’s a nice blend of clever, cerebral action scenes to offset the normal high-adrenaline ones, and it manages to tell a story that is intense on multiple levels without getting too deep.