When the going gets tough, the tough get going. This seems to working pretty well for Kim (Maggie Grace) this time around, who, hardened after her experience of being Taken the last time, is ready to stand up to any fight. With Taken 2, it is time for repayment, it’s her turn now to save her father.
The plot: It’s Cinema’s favourite theme, revenge. To save his daughter, Bryan (Liam Neeson) has killed a lot many kids who, as per bad guy Murad Krasiniqi (Rade Serbedzija), “Meant nothing to you but they were someone’s brothers and husbands and sons...” He himself being one of the fathers who lost his son, Murad decides to take down Bryan, his daughter, Kim (Maggie Grace) and his ex-wife, Lenore (Famke Janssen).
On a trip to Istanbul to get away from her dead-end second marriage, Lenore takes Kim to visit Bryan. While Bryan and Lenore are enjoying a ride and Kim her swim, the kidnappers decide to catch the family off-guard. But Bryan being Bryan, is well prepared and manages to outsmart the thugs several times. Yet, this time, the saviour becomes the one in need of saving after being Taken. And none other than his daughter Kim, whom he had once saved from the very same goons, can help him. Will she? Or will she also be taken again? Will the circle of revenge ever break? Will Bryan be able to turn things in his favour yet again? (Secretly you might also want to ask, will this revenge story work?)
The good: Barring a few car chases, some fist-fights and the occasional scenic beauty of Istanbul beautifully captured by Romain Lacourbas, there is nothing much that works in favour of Taken 2. Not to forget Liam Neeson, age 60, who still fights and acts spot-on as always. The rest of the cast is barely noticeable thanks to stock wooden expressions.
The bad: The 2008 movie Taken, co-written by Luc Beson and Robert Mark Kamen, was gripping, interesting and at times even nerve-wracking, but with Taken 2 they seem to be lost in their own script, as it feels a tad too forced and lazy. Although revenge as the theme to be carried forward is understandable, it isn’t convincing enough to take forward an entire movie. In fact, after a point everything becomes a blur thanks to the mindless chases and the heaps and loads of killings.
At times it even gets comical with silly instances like Murad telling his men, "Let’s take her to the Hamaam." Seriously, who brings a half-dead woman to the Hamaam? And don’t they have a conscience, killing and shooting in their own holy place? Also, a small speech by Murad is more like a tête-a-tête than a captor-victim exchange. The writers have scripted silly and repetitive dialogues in certain places. eg. Each time Liam leaves his ex-wife half-dead in Murad’s den, he says, "I am here baby, I am coming back!" Or, when the father-daughter duo gate-crash the US Embassy, the police officers and the army men cordon off the area, one of them suddenly says, “Nobody shoot, there’s a suicide bomber.” Guys, where did that come from?
Some parts feel incomplete and shabbily pieced like the Embassy part from where the scene shifts directly to Bryan walking and looking for the kidnappers.
Overall: Some remakes work and some simply don’t. Taken 2 falls into the latter category. Olivier Megaton, please don’t attempt a Part 3, ‘Take’ home this one as a lesson.
– Priyanka Ketkar