Taken 2 | Movie review
Liam Neeson does not pack lightly.
Preposterous, reactionary and totally gripping, Pierre Morel’s 2008 Taken poses a problem for a sequel, since the odds of a person being kidnapped twice are even lower than the odds of getting nabbed once. Following in the footsteps of Jaws: The Revenge, Taken 2 solves this conundrum by making the violence personal: The families of the sex-traffickers killed in the first film by security expert Bryan Mills (Liam Neeson) now want vengeance. This raises several questions, such as: How much airfare would Mills’s daughter (Maggie Grace) and ex-wife (Famke Janssen) have to spend in order to surprise-visit Dad in Istanbul—the better to inadvertently facilitate the villains’ new abduction plan? How many grenades has Mills packed in his suitcase, just in case of this eventuality? Is it really possible to pinpoint a location across a city with perfect accuracy, using a MacGyver-like combination of a shoelace, a writing implement, a map and said grenades? How many soundtrack selections can one movie swipe from Drive? Is it possible to edit a fight sequence to make it look as though Liam Neeson is actually kicking ass? Crude even in its sense of spatial coherence, the offensive, not-unenjoyably ridiculous Taken 2 answers the latter with a decisive no.