taken 2 filmTaken starring Liam Neeson was pretty much a surprise success in 2008.  It featured Liam Neeson as an ex-CIA agent whose daughter is kidnapped and he goes to the ends of the earth and kicks plenty of butt to get her back. Now we fast forward a bit and we see a kinder gentler side of Neeson character. He is playing the Dad role…that is until the bad guys that he tangled with and did not kill from the first film are back for some revenge. Once that part starts it felt like I was in a little bit of a time warp as it was like reliving the first movie all over again.

Reliving it but almost in a parody type way. Olivier Megaton’s (Columbiana, Transporter 3) Taken refers back to the first in a funny (whether intentionally or unintentionally) way. There are a couple of scenes that if you saw the first one will be funny. I especially enjoyed all the tongue in cheek stuff about Brian (Liam Neeson – The Grey, Love Actually) being super protective of his daughter, Kim (from television’s Lost).

All this is fine and dandy and the film goes along in the first part being entertaining. Then as soon as the kidnapping and action portion of the story begins it becomes a little tired and been there seen that. I mean, putting the same three characters in the exact same situation with the same Albanians chasing them is a little boring and really beyond believability, no? The whole thing felt forced to me. No chances are taken. The same super spy stuff is used. I mean, the skills Brian has are incredible but we’ve seen him do it all before. A film, even a sequel, has to have a raison d’être and I don’t see this one’s. In other words, I don’t see any originality in the story or any point where it is not predictable. Then to top it off the ending is completely rushed. I pretty much blinked and we were there. What? What happened? That’s it? These were all questions I found myself asking because all of a sudden, very quickly it was over.

What is good is that we get to see a little bit of the beautiful city of Istanbul (Turkey) with its spires, water and orange-tiled roofs. As an aside what is the deal with every action film featuring people chasing each other on roofs? Several films lately have done that. I guess we are tired of on foot or car chases and they are trying to shake it up a bit.

Secondly, the action scenes are good. Like the first film. They are done in a different from typical Hollywood film way with less gore and up close violence. There is a focus on choreography and efficacy of movement. Despite his age, Liam Neeson pulls it off well.

Bottom line, is that this is not a terrible film but one that really did not have anything special about it.