Taken 2 is the mindless action movie we’ve been waiting for

Taken 2 Liam Neeson

Often when I criticize a movie like Skyfall for half-baked plots and shallow characterization, what I hear in response is, “Whatever, it’s just a mindless action movie.” But I don’t believe that’s true. A movie decides what it’s going to be – Daniel Craig’s Bond was a deviation from previous movies in that it wanted to be thoughtful and have more depth than its predecessors. It aspired to something that it didn’t quite achieve.

Taken 2, however, has no pretensions. It knows exactly what it is – car chases, explosions, and gravelly-voiced Liam Neeson. Everything else is just the glue that gets us from one fight scene to the next.

Yes, the family dynamic is ridiculous. Famke Janssen’s new husband has conveniently shifted from all-around nice guy in the first movie to an unseen heartless monster who “Canceled our trip to China! How could he DO this to us?!?” Which sets Famke up for some friendly comfort (and a spontaneous international getaway!) with her ex, Liam Neeson. Does it make sense? Not a lick.

Famke Janssen Lenore Taken 2
And there is definitely some awkward acting, as forced by an awkward script. Janssen and Maggie Grace giggle and smile brightly and flip their hair and gush “Oh, you’re the BEST!” like they’re flirting with Liam Neeson to get a free drink at the bar.

But you know what? I DON’T CARE. Because all we need to know is that Liam Neeson cares about these people and some evil Albanians are threatening them and he will MAKE. THEM. PAY. They throw in a few lines about violence begetting violence and ending the cycle and blah blah don’t care back to shooting.

Taken 2 fight scene bath house Liam Neeson
The action scenes are so fantastically well-executed I was blown away. The shaky cam heightened the tension. The frantic violins in the background made my heart race.

Maggie Grace was more mature and infinitely less annoying in this movie than in the first, which is really all I ask. I didn’t care that she was setting off grenades in a major metropolitan area apparently without attracting any attention, or that she suddenly went from incompetent behind the wheel to master stick-shifter and stunt driver. I was fully invested in this movie, and because it delivered on its core promise – thrills and excitement – nothing else matters.

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8 thoughts on “Taken 2 is the mindless action movie we’ve been waiting for

  1. Maggie Grace really did up her game in this sequel. This film does what it says on the tin and I enjoyed it. It wasn’t as imaginative as the first one and I think it probably suffered from a reduction in the certificate, making in suitable for younger audiences. But it was still exciting and fun to watch. Nice review.

    • It’s definitely hokey to re-hash an almost identical plot, but I think some people get TOO hung up on that. You kind of have to accept that the premise is ridiculous and then just enjoy the ride; and like you said, it’s exciting and fun to watch! What else do you want from this kind of movie? And I didn’t even notice the rating was lower than the first! I guess he did a lot of bloodless neck-breaking but it never jumped out at me (unlike King Arthur, where I seriously thought “Wait, they’re in a battle scene with sword fights and no blood?? Ooooohhh right, PG-13”).

    • Thanks! I think if you liked Liam Neeson in the first one you’ll definitely enjoy this; the whole thing is just an unsubtle way for them to showcase more of him.

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