Liam Neeson uses his particular skills to kill another bunch of Albanian baddies in Taken 2, a movie that could have used even more killing.
Not to be cavalier about human life, but we’re not here for an in-depth discussion of the horrors of human trafficking and what the international community can do about it. We’re here to watch Liam Neeson punch guys to death in the throat. And sure, we get that, but first...
Kim (Maggie Grace) is trying to move on with her life, even though she is still traumatized by her experience of being kidnapped and sold to some sleazy sheik. She has a boyfriend but doesn’t tell her dad, former CIA agent Bryan Mills (Neeson), about it because she’s fairly sure he’ll freak out. And, when Kim’s mom/Bryan’s ex, Lenore (Famke Janssen), does spill the beans, Bryan naturally does indeed freak out — well, just a little. Just following the GPS on Kim’s phone to find her boyfriend’s house and then go there and bust up their afternoon together. Geez, Dad, it’s like you think I’m going to be kidnapped by international criminals or something.
Minutes are also spent on a little subplot about Kim learning to drive and Lenore’s marital woes, but eventually all contrivances lead to Kim and Lenore joining Bryan on his business trip to Istanbul.
Now, call me risk-averse, but if I had just recently been snatched from a Paris apartment, drugged up, stripped and dressed in a bikini, sold to some sketchy individual and been mere minutes from a life of sex slavery, I would not be so keen to do a lot of international travel. Particularly, I would not be keen on traveling to a country (Turkey) only one country away from the country (Albania) from whence came the many many men who did said kidnapping and whom my father killed, single-handedly. But Kim probably thinks something like “Hey, what are the chances lightening will strike twice,” and she and her mom show up in Istanbul.
Even more minutes go by as we see the relatives of the many Albanians killed in the first movie — led by the dad (Rade Serbedzija) of the guy Bryan connected to the electrical wiring and left to zap to death — assemble and head to Turkey to give Bryan what’s coming to him ... to eventually give Bryan what’s coming to him. Because it feels like forever until we get to the part where bad guys make a move on Bryan, Kim and Lenore and the butt-kicking and MacGyver-like escapes begin.
More killing, that’s what was needed here. Or, you know, I’m not full of blood-lust, more fighting is fine. Most of the henchmen that Neeson dispatches are done in by one punch, so who knows how many actually die and how many just rethink their henchmen careers and leave to go pursue a degree in computers. The hallmark of Taken was a non-stop marathon of heiny-whooping. And while we do eventually get to that, it feels like it comes later than desired. In a 91-minute Liam Neeson movie, I want no less than 81 minutes of Neeson taking it to the bad guys (or bad wolves, as in The Grey).
What single-minded Neeson action we get is fine, perfectly solid if not as exceptionally bad-ass as in the original. But too much time is spent giving backstory to weak characters and making us listen to half-baked dialogue. C+
Rated PG-13 for intense sequences of violence and action and some sensuality. Directed by Olivier Megaton with a screenplay by Luc Besson,Taken 2 is an hour and 31 minutes long and distributed by 20th Century Fox.