Liam Neeson does it again, but with a bit more effort. Taken 2 is a good sequel for those who were fans of the original, but it is not great. The opening scenes are edited with flash bang wizardry and get you into the film without time to fasten your seat belt. Bryan (Neeson) invites his estranged wife. the competent Lenore (Famke Janssen), on a holiday in Istanbul with his daughter Kim (Maggie Grace). Lenore and Kim hem and haw about wanting to go, but then appear in Istanbul surprising Bryan. But the family does not surprise the Albanian terrorists who are laying in wait for Bryan because he killed their sons. Moored Krasniqi (Rade Sherbedjia) has vowed to seek revenge for Bryan's bloody murderous swath of his family. Bryan and Lenore are almost immediately captured leaving Kim to hold the familial fort. Kim does a bang up job of taking direction from Bryan over her cell. (Oh, where would we be without technology in these action films.) Here the plot loses a bit of credibility as Bryan instructs Kim over the cell about to find Lenore and him in congested Istanbul with one marketplace built upon the other. Lenore is being tortured by the Albanians while Kim has managed to escape the terrorists who had wanted to capture the entire family and transport all three to Albania, then kill them in a public demonstration of loyalty to the sons that Bryan slaughtered.
The acting is top drawer and Neeson manages to hold the audience's attention save for fleeting moments of laughter when Neeson is a bit too deft with his ability to kill off Albanians. Olivier Megaton's direction fell apart in the end. It could be that Neeson was not believable to those audience members adept with gun slinging or that the action sequences had been seen before.
Then there were too many chases as they seemed to be the focus of the plot. Car chases and stars running along the roofs of Istanbul's markets and while this made for action and glorious shots of Turkey, they were a bit tiring and did not make up for what was lacking in plot.
Screenwriter Luc Besson should have watched more closely to avoid the repetitive phrases of Bryan, whom we all know by now is a former CIA agent. In Taken 2, Bryan says phrases directly from the original Taken. But all in all no one was expecting a sequel to be a masterpiece and a good time was had watching Bryan outwit the Albanians with his 'special set of skills.'
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