what I do have are a very particular set
of skills; skills I have acquired over a
very long career."...Taken
a review by Ken Vasquez
If it worked out the first time why not a second time?
TAKEN 2 takes the tried and true Hollywood adage when it comes to successful first entries and becomes yet another solid action thriller. Luc Besson (La Femme Nikita, The Professional, The Fifth Element) and collaborator Robert Mark Kamen (The Transporter) ingeniously managed to write an entertaining and hard hitting follow up to the original
Liam Nesson returns as former CIA operative Bryan Mills and makes use of his "unique set of skills" to take on the Albanian thugs who kidnap his ex wife Lenore (Famke Janssen) as an act of vengeance for the bad guys Mills killed while rescuing his daughter in the previous film. French director Olivier Megaton (The Transporter 3, Colombiana) takes over for Pierre Morel and delivers a sequel every bit as good as the first.
This time around the action moves to the exotic land of Istanbul with fast car chases through it's narrow streets and intense shoot outs and brawls in it's notorious hooka smoking back alley dens. Megaton has the chops to direct suspense and action driven set piece utilizing locations such as roof tops, bazzars, hotel ledges and bath houses with frenetic and kinetic precision.
Nesson it's at a point in his very successful acting career where he can step on a potentially mediocre film and make it great. Neither one of the 'TAKEN' films are bad, not at all, I just don't think they would be as awesome without Nesson who's tough CIA father on a rampage role is great to see. At his age Nesson is as good with hand to hand close quarters combat as any of today's action stars. The man can emote the concern of a caring father and the intensity of an angered specialist.
Is cool to see Maggie Grace (Lost, The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn, Lockout) do more than just be the daughter in distress and take on a more proactive role in this installment. Famke Janssen (Goldeneye, X-Men) is a stoic and pleasing sight as always but in this movie she's reduced to a hostage for most of the film. She's quite the romantic foil despite all that. Rade Serbedzija (The Saint, Snatch, Batman Begins, Mission Impossible 2, Shooter) turns up as the leader of the Albanians and a man looking for good old fashion revenge. Leland Orser (The Bone Collector, Daredevil), Jon Griers (Napoleon Dynamite) and D.B. Sweeney (The Cutting Edge, Spawn) appear as Liam Neeson's friends from the old job.
This is one of those very rare moments in cinema when a sequel to a small yet unassuming hit is just as entertaining. As of this review 'TAKEN 2' is on a box office high note, so if it worked a first and second time, we can surely expect a hopefully good third one.