Filled with violence and lots of speeding, Taken 2 proves itself to be a great film
You really do feel like you're in another world filled with constant shoot outs and explosions while watching "Taken 2." While critics were initially skeptical to a sequel of the "Taken," Director Olivier Megaton manages to recreate the intensity of the first film with fast-pace action and shockingly surreal acting.
Once again, Neeson comes vigorously firing back in this movie with his constantly disgruntled facial expressions and his cold but calculating execution of his victims. Neeson's strong attention to his acting is what makes the viewer feel like their right in Istanbul speeding away from the police.
But Neeson's seriousness isn't the only thing that helps create the action filled ambiance of this film. Fellow actors Maggie Smith and Famke Janssen are given a bigger role in this movie compared to the last, and it's refreshing to see someone else other than Neeson filling the gratuitous action. After playing the victim role in the first film as the kidnapped daughter, Grace adopts a more heroic lead in "Taken 2," separating this film from its predecessor. Barely escaping the wrath of the men sent to kidnap her, Grace, with the help of her father is able to map out exactly where he and her mother have been taken over a phone call. This scene is probably the most intense and almost touching of the film. Despite her fear for her parents' lives, she takes grenades and gunshots head on and risks her life to save her family.
Part of the reason why this film works well is that despite the slightly unrealistic storyline, the camera work and special effects makes the action believable. When Janssen's character is running through an unfamiliar shopping center in a foreign country, you identify with her fear because of the perfectly jerky camera movements that smoothly transition from close ups of her face to shots of the people behind her that are screaming for her death.
"Taken 2" is all about revenge. After Neeson kills the men who kidnapped his own daughter, in the first film, the families of the deceased seek their vengeance. The leader of this Albanian mafia-like group, who are looking to avenge the death of their sons, is Murad Krasniqi (Rade Serbedzija). The notable distinction of this film is that Megaton didn't completely ice the antagonist out. Instead, the viewer understands his pain and motives for wanting Neeson's blood, and even until the last few minutes of the movie, you relate to the hurt in his eyes because he's doing all of this out of love for his dead son.
"Taken 2" shows that not all films about former CIA operatives have to be cliché and instead can add unique touches like the weak daughter becoming the heroine or the "bad guy" showing emotion. With a well written script and solid acting cast, this film is able to impress.
Taken 2 (91 minutes) is rated PG-13 for intense sequences of violence and action, and some sensuality and is now playing in theaters everywhere.
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