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Taken was one of those joyous films we expected little off but produced a cult action classic. It rarely happens in a bland and formulaic Hollywood especially as the film was signposted as formulaic and perfunctory. But Liam Neeson made it his own with his lumbering macho ex CIA agent dispatching the bad guys and that deep sexy Irish brogue doing the rest. Then, of course, we had to suffer the sequel after Taken did $267 million dollars, especially as the sequel was obvious, the Albanian mafia who he seriously messed up wanting revenge. Here is that sequel. I know a lot of you held back from it because of poor critic’s reviews but if you like more of the same then you will be ok with this. It’s really not that bad.
We pick up as the Mills family is fully recuperated after their European kidnap drama and safe back home in America. But the Albania clan Mills (Neeson) wiped out wants revenge and mafia boss Murad Krasniqi (Rade Serbedzija) has assembled the remaining member of his family to take down Mills and his family.
Mills ex wife Lenore (Famke Janssen ) has split from her new partner, and daughter Kim (Maggie Grace) thinks it’s a great time to get mom and dad back together again, all three agreeing to a holiday in Istanbul in the expensive hotel where Bryan works as a security specialist. But it’s not long until they are tracked down by the Alabamian mafia and Mills and his wife snatched, daughter Kim escaping at the last. In a hidden dungeon Mills is quickly unpicking locks and ready to kick butt, daughter Kim issued complex instructions by dad to locate them to help rescue mom. It’s not long before the body count rises and Murad regrets his decision for revenge as Mills deploys all his skills on the Alabamian mafia.
There are $376 million reasons why this sequel was made and some would say that’s 376 million reasons not to make it. But $45 million budget was quickly green lighted and we are back to do it all again. And boy do we do it all again. Instead of calling the cops, Mills decides its best to give his daughter some grenades to throw around Istanbul so he can shoot up the place. And let’s not forget the anti Muslim undertones of the piece, suspicious eyes peering from many veils. Second to the female lead doing a naked scene the Muslim Burka menace seems to be the best way to sell an American action movie these days. How else do you get another season of the rather overrated Homeland made?
The suitably named director Oliver Megaton enjoys shooting up bustling Istanbul and creating plenty of plot holes with those explosions, getting rather silly at times. Its PG13 rating is also somewhat bizarre considering some of the violent macho scenes here. Saying that it was nowhere near as bad as I feared, certainly not the 23% of positive reviews the Rottentomatos critics handed out. That’s really unfair. It’s the action film you deserve when you watch it and enjoy Neeson doing his thing again.
The appeal of the first film was the middle aged man making a comeback for all us 40-something’s watching on with his special set of skills to protect his family and we cheered every snap of bone or crunch of cartilage (no doubt what he would have suffered is he had done the stunts). It’s more of the same, of course, as Neesons now signature bullet proof leather jacket (in every film post Taken) flaps around in dusty markets and narrow streets as he breaks some heads and pops some bad guys. But his Mills character is so much fun you just fall into line and go with it, the contiguous secret of the movies. There are more pony tails, dodgy foreign accents and cheap black leather jackets here than Peterborough Job Center and you just no they are all going down.
Taken 2 is the slightly unnecessary sequel to the film that saw Liam Neeson stepping forward as an unexpected action hero.
As you may recall, in the first film his daughter was taken into a white-slave ring to be sold off as a prostitute whilst on a trip to France. Liam Neeson, her former Special Forces dad, waded in to the rescue and pretty much kicked the ass of anyone who got in his way with explosive consequences.
This time around, it is Neeson and his wife who are taken. The father of the guy responsible in the first film wants revenge on Neeson for killing his son and is willing to use Neeson's family to do it.
This time around, it is the daughter that must come to the rescue...
I loved the concept and the whole message the film is trying to convey- that if you participate in violence and violent actions, you promote an endless cycle of revenge killing and people seeking vengeance for what they consider wrongs. I just thought the message got lost along the way and that this film ended up just being very similar to the original. That's not a bad thing- if it ain't broke, don't fix it - but it did make for a film that was ever so slightly lacking in places.
Neeson is simply superb as always, Famke Janssen her usual fairly wooden self. The action is fast-paced and relentless and there is a whole point here that the Directors seem to be trying to make.
It's just that you can't help thinking watching this, "yeah, seen it, wore the t-shirt...check please!"
It was actually better than I expected, but seeing as I did not have high hopes for it, that is not that big a recommendation. I do think if you liked the first one, you should watch this, just not too close together as you might easily get confused which one is which??!!??
Having watched Taken earlier in the year, I decided to buy this DVD fr my husband for Christmas. Currently selling for £5 on Amazon with free delivery, I thought it was a reasonable price for a film that was released in September 2012. It was directed by Olivier Megaton and produced by Luc Besson. The film lasts 91 minutes.
The cast is very much as was in Taken, starring;
Liam Neeson - Bryan Mills
Maggie Grace - Kim Mills
Famke Janssen - Lenore "Lenny" Mills
Rade Serbedzija - Murad
Leland Orser - Sam
Jon Gries- Casey
D.B. Sweeney - Bernie
Luke Grimes - Jamie
Olivier Rabourdin - Jean-Claude Pitrel
Kevork Malikyan - Inspector Durmaz
Again not dissimilar to Taken but with a slight twist. The father of one of Kim or "Kimmy"s kidnappers who was killed in the previous film, sets out to revenge his sons death by capturing Bryan, his wife "Lenny" and daughter. Circumstances lead them to be in Istanbul and in a reverse turn of fortune finds Bryan in a very different position.
Now I enjoyed Taken, but the acting in this was poor. Lenny, who in real life is Famke Janssen, whose acting many will remember from being a russian Bond villain (Xenia Onatopp, Golden Eye) among many other parts, is quite frankly surprising stilted. Kimmy, whose goes from mature young adult to silly girl, again was below expectations. And Liam.. In Taken, he was the concerned, focused father hero but in this, it came across that he had no personality at all. The previous devoted husband of Kimmy deserting her and the swift turn of relationship between Bryan and Lenny was too predictable and poorly done.
Superb location but lacked the believe-ability.
Taken 2 got a Rotten apple score of 21% and I'm afraid its getting a 2 star from me, I would give it more but I was disappointed in this film and wouldn't recommend.
You would think that to be kidnapped once in a lifetime is pretty bad luck, but for it to happen to your family twice, well, someone's really got it in for you if that's the case!!
Taken 2 follows on very nicely from the first Taken film and if you're not a big fan of sequels I have to say that this one was quite good and well worth watching although I felt it was quite similar to the first movie in a way.
The story goes like this, "Liam Neeson returns as Bryan Mills. the ex-CIA operative who stopped at nothing to rescue his daughter from sadistic kidnappers. When the father of one of the kidnappers swears revenge, it is Bryan and his wife who find themselves "taken" hostage in Istanbul. To survive, Bryan must enlist the help of an unlikely ally and use his brutally efficient skills to take out his heavily armed foes one by one."
Its an all out action movie and there is quite a lot of blood and shooting. Ok, I have to admit that its not all believeable and there were times when I turned to my husband and said, no way, there is no way that would happen or no way he could survive after that blow but that's Hollywood I guess. Liam is his usual tough guy, brooding self and I think he plays the role very well. I actually like his character and he definitely shows that he
I like that Liam Neeson's daughter in this film has taken on a bit bigger of a role. In the first movie, the actress Maggie Grace was the one who was kidnapped so if I remember rightly we didn't see her that much but in this she really plays quite a big part, helping her father in some of the action. In one scene she is driving a car around the streets of Istanbul which is a bit hair raising, especially as when we last saw her in America she hadn't got her driving license yet and she was taking lessons with her dad!
The scenes of kidnapping and some of the torture scenes in this film are actually quite brutal and not the nicest to see so I definitely think that the 15 DVD rating for this film is correct and you really should not let younger children watch this.
The DVD lasts for approximately 88 minutes, special effects include the extended harder cut and the original cinema cut. I enjoyed this movie and would watch this again although I probably don't need to for quite a while yet.
I really enjoyed the first Taken film, so like most people I was really excited when I heard that there was going to be a second one. As soon as it came out in the cinemas me and some of my friends went to see it at the cinema.
I think we all had very high hopes and I was expecting it to be incredible, with stunning CGI and a more in depth explanation about the first film but unfortunately it has to be one of the most disappointing films I've seen in the past few years. From the very beginning I could tell it wasn't going to be much good.
The acting just seemed wooden & the script wasn't good either and the story line was predictable and very unbelievable. The plot seems simple but it is so over exaggerated that it loses all hope. The story is more focused on the main characters daughter now who has miraculously recovered from the ordeal she suffered in the first film. So recovered in fact she doesn't hesitate going abroad again, it's like nothing in the first film ever happened.
The baddies from the first film are out to kill Liam neeson's character and his family, and the action starts very quickly. It is all extremely far fetched and almost comical at times because he magically manages to escape several times when he is well and truly cornered. I spotted several mistakes made within a short period of time and I'm sure that there will be lots of scenes taken from this on the greatest movie mistakes of all time programme!
Liam neeson is one of my favourite actors, but his character in this is too over the top and not as believable as it was in the first film. I found myself bored after the first 30 minutes and after an hour I was nearly ready to walk out of the cinema. All of the fight scenes were badly acted and repetitive. There were a lot of cliches too and it was so bad that I was literally laughing at some points! It didn't keep my attention and if I'm honest I couldn't have cared much whether the 'good' characters survived as there was not a great deal of character development.
The CGI was ok, but there wasnt that much of it - it was mainly gun fights and men punching each other (which was badly acted too). All of my friends also agreed that this was an awful film, and I'm glad that I didn't pay for my cinema ticket thanks to a voucher that I had.
This is a film only review.
The original Taken was a great film with Liam Neeson bringing a hard cynical edge to the lead character and in 2008 it was probably one of the best action films to be released only really being eclipsed by the Bourne films in my opinion. Taken also had the very powerful phone scene where Neeson uttered the famous "I will find you" speech to his daughters kidnappers. Unfortunately Taken 2 falls into the usual pitfalls that often curse a follow up film. It lacks an original and credible storyline and it also suffers from a really clumsy plot that tries to shoe horn in a romantic angle and also leaves the barn door wide open for a third film in the series to further stretch the viewers patience and grip on reality.
Neeson plays the character of Brian Mills, a former CIA agent who on the surface looks quite unassuming however in reality he is a skilled operative who is also a cold bloodied killer, one of the things I liked about the original film is that there was at times a nod towards realism in that he was quite happy to shoot someone in the back or torture people in the quest to save his daughter. In Taken 2 the plot is all about the father and crime boss of some of those he killed seeking revenge on him by staging a kidnap in Instabul where Mills is visiting with his daughter Kim (Maggie Grace) and his ex-wife Lenore (Framke Jansen). The Albanian crime boss is played by Murad Krasniqi and he does bring a certain amount of menace to the role but it somehow lacks real feeling. To be honest none of the performers really stand out, Grace has a much bigger role as the daughter in this film and to be honest career wise she is probably the only one to benefit, for the others the benefit is no doubt more to do with money.
The whole plot is very robotic and follows a set structure, the attempt to introduce a romance edge between the former husband and wife is almost cringeworthy and sloppy, characters such as the corrupt French secret service agent and former friend are introduced into the storyline for no real reason and then left out just as quickly. There are other gaping plot gaps, in one scene Mills bursts through the supposedly imprenetable Embassy road blocks and is surrounded by armed guards for the scene to instantly shift to him once again roaming the streets of Istanbul.
On the plus side the scenery particularly in Instanbul is pretty impressive and the action scenes are excellent, lots of fast car chases and fast fight scenes with switching camera angles. The film certainly works a whole lot better on the big screen rather than the small one for me as watching it at home was just not the same.
The ending is rather weak and the film itself is a typical follow up, weak and a pale shadow of the original. It does suffer from the fact that the first film was so good but it is still only just worth three stars from me.
Liam Neeson Bryan Mills
Maggie Grace Kim
Famke Janssen Lenore
Leland Orser Sam
Jon Gries Casey
D.B. Sweeney Bernie
Luke Grimes Jamie
Rade Serbedzija Murad Krasniqi
I had wanted to see Taken 2 since I realised there was going to be a Taken 2. I had loved the first film in the series and therefore was keen to see the next offering. I had planned to go to the cinema to see it but what with one thing and another I never ended up there. However, I mentioned to a friend last week that I really wanted to see Taken 2 so last night we got a takeaway and rented it. We rented in through the xbox where it cost something around £5 - this is quite high but it was more convenient for us to do this. This is a film only review.
Bryan Mills is an ex CIA agent. He is living in America and is carrying on with everyday life. Thankfully his life is much less exciting than it used to be, especially when his only child Kim was kidnapped a few years ago. Bryan is currently teaching Kim to drive and he is very proud of her, wanting her to be the best she can. Therefore, when he turns up as arranged for their driving lesson one Saturday afternoon he is upset when his ex wife, Lenore tells him that Kim is not there and that her piano lesson has been rescheduled. Being an ex CIA agent, Bryan can tell when someone is lying and eventually he gets Lenore to tell him where Kim really is - with her boyfriend. Bryan is less than impressed but then realises Lenore has something else on her mind. He learns that she has split up with her partner and she is upset because he had been taking her and Kim away. Bryan offers for them to join him on his next business trip to Istanbul.
After Bryan arrives in Istanbul and completes his business there is no sign of Kim and Lenore so he assumes they have decided against the trip. However, they surprise him and he is overjoyed that they came. He is looking forward to spending some time as a family and he is eager to show them the culture of Istanbul. However, Kim of course has other ideas about the trip - hoping to reconcile her parents. Therefore, when the three arrange to have lunch out together, Kim decides to feign jet lag and stays at the hotel.
Being an ex CIA agent is never an easy job and it can be argued that in fact, you never leave the job. Bryan is aware they are being followed and he thinks he knows who by - the family of a man he had to kill on the job a few years previously. Will they catch him and what will happen to Lenore?
I had extremely high expectations of the film because I had loved the first one in the series and I had also waited a long time to watch this one. My friend hadn't actually seen the first one (I know, shocking) but I think he was swayed into wanting to see this by my enthusiasm!
I thought that the film got off to a very good start and I did feel that it was a film that although a sequel to another film, it could easily be watched as a standalone film as the plot, although continuing on from the previous film is focused around something new and different and pieces of essential information are given which helps anyone who hasn't seen the first one to understand the storyline a bit better.
I like the character of Bryan and he displays a lot of tendencies Dads do - just a little more extreme! He is very protective of Kim and of course, to her this can be overbearing and irrational but of course it must be remembered that a couple of years prior to this she was kidnapped and he was battling to save her. Therefore, I think he has reason to be a little overprotective! I liked the relationship Bryan still held with Lenore. Even though they had divorced a long time ago they had remained friends and this wasn't just for Kims sake as you could see that they really did care for one another.
Of course, with a film like this you have a fair idea about what the plotline will be but I didn't find this taking away any of the entertainment value of the film and instead I found myself hooked and eager to find out exactly what was going to happen.
I liked the setting of Istanbul. I thought that the general environment really aided the film in its plot and all of the small narrow streets and busy markets really assisted the action scenes as it meant people were less easy to spot and there were more places to hide etc. Of course, the rivals of Bryan are from Istanbul so they knew the place well whereas it was a bit more difficult for Bryan, however his CIA training proved invaluable.
I thought the plot was gripping and the film flowed at a good pace. Initially I was a little sceptical about how long it was taking for the action to begin but there is actually quite a lot of information revealed in the first half an hour or so which is essential for this as a sequel film. The two films had a 4 year gap between their releases so I did think this was important even as someone who has watched the film a few times on tv etc. This was of course also very useful for anyone who hadn't seen the first film. Once the action begins the film is very fast paced and everything moves very quickly. I think this assists in the excitement of the film and it is very easy to become hooked to the film and caught up in what is going on. The film progressed well and there was always plenty to focus on and to think about. Although initially I was quite sure I knew what the ending of the film would be I have to say that there were a few points during the film that I really was unsure about what might happen.
The acting in the film is of a first class standard. I have become a big fan of Liam Neeson's work after seeing him in Taken and this sequel shows his talents brilliantly. Maggie Grace as Kim is wonderful and she does a brilliant job of showing how Kim has grown up a little since the previous film and also how she has picked up some of her fathers traits along the way. Famke Janssen is also very good as Lenore.
The film was released in 2012.
It is a sequel to the 2008 film, Taken.
It was directed by Olivier Megaton.
It is rated a 15.
It runs for 92 minutes.
It stars Liam Neeson, Famke Janssen and Maggie Grace.
A very good follow up to the popular film of 2008. An interesting film that is fast paced and action packed but for me personally, its not quite as good as the first film in the series. Well worth a watch.
FILM REVIEW ONLY (I saw this at the cinema and so cannot comment on the DVD extras etc)
~Spoiler Alert~ This review mentions parts of the fim and also parts of the first film, though I would assume if you are reading this you have already seen the first one. :)
Cast: Liam Neeson, Famke Janssen and Maggie Grace
Director: Olivier Megaton
Length: 92 mins
Genre: Action, Crime, Thriller
As this is a sequel, the plot is connected somewhat to the original movie. In the original movie teenager Kim Mills (Maggie Grace) goes on holiday to Paris with a friend and is kidnapped up by a sex slave gang. During the kidnapping, she is on the phone to her father, Bryan Mills (Liam Neeson) a retired CIA operative an ex-CIA operative. As is expected, very angry father with awesome skills goes after well hidden bad guys to save his estranged daughter.
The sequel starts several months after all this occurred and the family is trying to rebuild their relationship and get over what happened.
However the kidnappers from the first film, who were obviously killed during the hunt and rescue of Kim had families of their own. These family members, brothers, fathers etc along with grieving decide to get revenge on this man Bryan Mills.
So, while in Istanbul with his ex-wife Lenore (Famke Janssen) and daughter Kim, Bryan and Lenore are taken hostage by the father of one of the original kidnappers.
From here there is the usual stunts and action that follow Neeson's character as he attempts to save himself and his ex-wife, protect his daughter and stop the bad guys.
The first movie was great, especially because it was barely advertised and so was a little cultish. The action, characters and stunts were just brilliant.
The plot of the first movie was very solid, daughter is kidnapped while on holiday unsupervised and father who has some impressive skills comes to rescue her. The bad guys, who have done this many times have no idea what they have gotten themselves into by taking an ex-CIA operatives daughter.
Due to the strength of the first movie, the sequel has a big issue that made it just nowhere near as good. The plot of the second is that he and his ex-wife are taken this time (hmm... that is not exactly an increase in the drama). Not only that, these new baddies know exactly what sort of person they have got so the cocky arrogance from the first isn't there.
However despite being aware of Bryan Mills abilities and how dangerous he is, I found their methods for dealing with him (capture etc) somewhat lacking. Some belligerent family members with a grudge go after a well skilled man. Right from the start the danger and threats seem very limited and any time the director / writers could have shown some teeth and made it a little darker, they pulled back.
Fight scenes and car chases
The car chases were okay, nothing special mainly because one involves Bryan Mills' teenage daughter (who is just learning to drive) suddenly zipping around in a car in Istanbul while being chased and shot at, comes off unrealistic and very clunky at times.
The fight scenes were okay but nothing compared to the first and some of them seemed to just cut before they actually ended so on more than one occasion I wasn't quite sure why one of the characters was now led dead/unconscious because I failed to see a final blow/shot etc.
From what I remember the music wasn't bad, but also not so great that is stuck with me - which good music that compliments a film really well ALWAYS sticks with me. It brought enough to keep the movie going but not enough to interest me in checking out the soundtrack or even mentioning it to my partner when I was leaving the cinema.
I was surprised at how unimpressive I found the acting. Liam Neeson was good, but then he always is but he wasn't as good as he has been. Famke Janssen seemed a little wooden at times and Maggie Grace, playing Kim Mills did not come across as someone who had suffered a trauma (first film). The other characters seemed pretty one dimensional and there was nothing striking about any of them.
Was okay to watch but left me feeling underwhelmed, will not be bothering to buy it on DVD when it comes out. It cannot even come close to the first one.
I was surprised it wasn't that great, especially with Luc Besson as one of the writers (I love his work, and he worked on the first one) though there was two additional writers and a different director, so maybe that had something to do with it.
My advice, give it a miss.
I was quite taken with Taken when I saw it back in 2008. It was one of those guilty pleasure films that required you to do nothing more than sit back, take your brain out of gear and watch Liam Neeson shoot people. What's not to like?
Clearly I was not alone and the film generated enough cash to produce the inevitable sequel. Unfortunately, a few small, but crucial changes to the formula means that second time around, I'm not too taken with Taken 2.
In an unlikely sequence of events, ex-CIA operative Brian Mills invites his ex-wife and daughter to Istanbul. On arrival, Brian and his wife are promptly kidnapped by the revenge-seeking relatives of the sex traffickers he shot in the original film.
Sadly, Taken 2 (as sequels so often do) loses sight of what made the first film work. The original Taken was stupid, but high octane. It raced along from set piece to set piece with barely a pause for plot. It was big, dumb and stupid; it knew it and revelled in it, even succeeded where George Lucas failed: in making an action star out of Liam Neeson.
Taken 2, sadly, ignores many of these lessons; and one in particular proves fatal. Taken 2 is just too slow. It takes an age to set up the threadbare plot and get the main characters to Istanbul and even longer before they are kidnapped. Worse still, almost 40 minutes elapse (in a 92 minute film) before Liam Neeson even shoots anyone properly.
The first succeeded because it thrived on fast, regular action to keep excitement levels up; Taken 2 misses the point. Early scenes are too talky and too full of misguided attempts to flesh out the characters or give them some "meaningful" dialogue. Who gives a stuff about that? We've come to see Liam Neeson shoot people.
Tragically, the slow pace gives you time to dwell on some of the more stupid elements of the plot. Why do the kidnappers not search Mills to find a piece of equipment that proves crucial to his escape? It's not like it's well hidden. And why can't the guard hear Mills talking to someone in a cell occupied only by him? Clearly it's because they subscribe to Stupid Kidnappers Monthly. Equally, why does no-one come running to investigate when Mills' daughter (at his instruction) is merrily lobbing grenades around Istanbul so that he can get a fix on his location? It makes no sense.
In fairness, the original film was riddled with plot holes, inconsistencies and unlikely events, but because it was so-fast paced and so much fun, you didn't actually stop to think about it; and even if you did you didn't care. Taken 2 is much slower, the gaps between fights and set pieces longer and there is not the same level of excitement or intensity. That leaves your mind plenty of time to dwell on how ridiculous it all is.
Things aren't helped by a poor choice of director to replace Pierre Morel. Morel was not without his faults but at least he kept the action sequences clear and fast. Replacement Olivier Megaton fails to replicate this and introduces new elements which are little short of disastrous.
He clearly subscribes to the "keep the camera moving and shaking as much as possible" view of fight sequences. Some people claim this gives them "energy" or makes the viewer feel like they are in the middle of the fight. I say it just gives you a headache and means you don't really have a clue what is happening. Add in some pretty abysmal editing and the problem gets worse.
Throw in an ending which is stupid, weak and predictable, (not to mention abrupt) and Taken 2 ends up being a very disappointing night out. It's not like I even set my expectations too high. I just wanted to see a film in which Liam Neeson runs around shooting people. Taken 2 left that need unfulfilled.
The one bright spot is that Liam Neeson is still good as Brian Mills. He might be an unlikely action hero, but Neeson's gravelly voice and cold-eyed approach to killing works well. He's clearly found a role that he enjoys playing and is probably the one bright spot in the whole film. Unfortunately, the film sees the need to side-line him in the early stages (hence his distinct lack of bad guy killing), reducing his effectiveness.
Things are not so rosy elsewhere. Attempts to give Famke Janssen (as Mills' ex-wife) and Maggie Grace (his daughter) expanded roles fall flat on their face. Janssen is simply dull, whilst Grace is mostly there for eye candy (particularly in the early scenes when (for very flimsy reasons) she spends much of the time running around in a bikini.) She might be having fun doing action sequences, but we're not. She's very unconvincing and merely highlights how good Neeson is.
The one bright spot amongst the cast is Rade Serbedzija as Murad Krasniqi, vengeful father of one of the bad guys from the first film. Using Serbedzija as an older, more thoughtful bad guy (someone who sits pulling the strings, gradually ensnaring Mills) is a good move and could have proved an interesting foil to Neeson's character. Sadly, he is tragically underused and towards the end of the film disappears with barely a whimper.
Needless to say the plot sets things up to make room for Taken 3, and this has done good business, so no doubt it will emerge. I can't say I can muster much enthusiasm for the idea, though.
Director: Olivier Megaton
Running time: approx.. 92 minutes
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