I have now come to the conclusion that the title of this series doesn’t revolve around the film’s flimsy kidnapping plot but rather the fact that filmgoers have been hoodwinked by two average films into handing over their money.
Taken 2 is a stereotypical action movie sequel. It piles on more of everything, except for originality, while recycling the plot of the first film. In fact, its narrative is such a shameless rehash that Taken 2 resorts to numerous flashbacks from the first film, unable to carry the narrative on its own.
In the first film, retired CIA field agent Bryan Mills (Liam Neeson) had hunted down and killed the prostitution gang that had kidnapped and tried to sell off his daughter Kim Mills (Maggie Grace). The film is set two months after Taken (2008) as the crooked Albanian businessman Murad Krasniqi (Rade Šerbedžija), who is the father of one of Kim’s kidnappers, vows to have his vengeance.
Soon enough Bryan’s family is attacked once again but this time the baddies kidnap Bryan’s ex-wife Lenore (Famke Janssen). Although the body count in Taken 2 is certainly quite high, the action sequences aren’t particularly exciting nor are they inventive as Bryan effortlessly kills almost every Albanian baddie in Europe. In fact, at some point I started to feel sorry for the Albanians who were dropping like flies. Yes, Taken 2 made me feel sad for cutthroat killers and kidnappers.
Moreover, the film features a ridiculously unbelievable chase sequence where Bryan and his daughter crash into the US Embassy in a stolen taxi without any major injuries. That’s the biggest flaw in Taken 2: it seems as if Bryan and his family are immortal. Intellectual properties like Die Hard, 24 and the Tom Clancy films have all had similar plots as the Taken films but they were much more successful at creating suspense because the protagonists and their family members were always close to dying or being seriously injured.
Regardless, let’s just hope for the sake of the future of Albania that Bryan Mills’ family is now left well enough alone. Although with Taken 2 having already achieved box-office success on its first weekend, the next kidnapping is bound to happen in the near future. There is certainly money in it.
Published in The Express Tribune, Sunday Magazine, October 21st, 2012.
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