Liam Neeson is back as retired CIA agent Bryan Mills in the sequel to the original 2008 breakout action hit. Director, Olivier Megaton is also back to lead another bullet and throat-chop filled extravaganza, but will be hard pressed to recreate the level of intensity and energy that made the first installment such a pleasure to watch.
In the first movie, Bryan Mills is forced into action when his daughter is kidnapped by a gang of human traffickers who want her for their prostitution ring. Not knowing they were setting themselves up for failure, Mills uses his particular set of skills to hunt down the group of men, kill them all in exciting fashion, and rescue not only his daughter but a whole group of young ladies. The one thing he didn't know was how the families of these men might take exception to him knocking off their husbands, brothers, and sons.
Mills learns this unfortunate fact when his daughter Kim (Maggie Grace) and ex-wife Lenore (Famke Janssen) pay him a surprise visit in Istanbul right as the the family and friends of the guys he killed are preparing their revenge. Once again all hell breaks loose, people are taken prisoner and Mills uses his amazing skills to try and win the day...again.
Sometimes when you take the exact same idea that worked once and try to do the same thing, you end up at best getting the same thing. Unfortunately there are times when this formula does not work and "Taken 2" is a shining example of this end of the deal. Where the first movie was full of excitement and intensity, the second installment can only seem to find predictability and absurdity.
Sure, there's some decent action and a few big explosions, but hardly any of it really works at all. There are more groans and painful expressions from the audience than from the people fighting on screen. After a while my mind was so disengaged that I was hoping that Neeson and Janssen would morph into their Qui Gon Jin and Jean Grey characters so they could really start going off. No such luck.