Its predecessor was big, brash, and made sure that even fewer Americans would set foot in Europe ever again. But where Pierre Morel's 2008 thriller was adrenalin-pumped and relatively believable, the 2012 sequel from Olivier Megaton is, well, not. Action-packed fight scenes and memorable monologues have been replaced with a barely functioning plot and a screenplay akin to something a 12 year old might shoot if you gave him a dodgy video camera and told him to film out of the car window. As it jumps from the perfectly-kept avenues of California, to the wide boulevards of Paris, to the bustling bazaars of Istanbul, Taken II can only be described as a shaky follow-up.
After his shocking journey attempting to save his daughter Kim (Maggie Grace) from European human traffickers, ex-CIA agent Bryan Mills invites his ex-wife and daughter for a relaxing weekend in Istanbul. Trying to forget the horrors of their last venture onto European soil, the Mills family are just beginning to enjoy their holiday when Bryan and his ex are kidnapped by relatives of his Parisian victims, back to seek revenge. In an inverted plot twist which promises much and delivers nothing, it is left to the daughter to rescue her parents.
From a small mobile phone hidden in his shoe, Mills explains to his daughter the 'very particular set of skills' that she must use to locate them. Though this may involve hurling grenades haphazardly around the city centre and running over rooftops, she manages it in all of ten minutes, after which her father takes over to hunt down the rest of the bad guys. Bearded face after bearded face is defeated until at last, Mills faces the ultimate challenge - a middle-aged, podgy man with a distinct muffin top showing through his dangerously tight joggers.
It is needless to say that throughout the mercifully short film, you never get the feeling that any of them are in particularly desperate danger. Neeson, though he puts in by far the best performance of the film, looks dogged and tired. The filming most certainly doesn't help either, choppily edited and confusing to follow as the handheld cameras bounce around like they're in the back of a horse-drawn cart. Even the car chase scene (interestingly enough, not with Neeson in the driving seat) is lacklustre and uninspiring. What starts out as a promising and inventive plot twist turns into a badly crafted mess of fists and faces. Fans of Taken - prepare to be more than a little disappointed.
Date : 21/10/2012
Average price: £10.00