Capsule Movie Review – Taken 2 (2012)
by HELEN GEIB
Luc Besson is listed as a co-screenwriter on Taken 2 but I don’t believe it. Now, the “based on characters created by” credit is okay. The story is a direct continuation of Taken (2009), as the paterfamilias of the Albanian crime gang that kidnapped Kim seeks revenge on Bryan Mills (Liam Nesson, bringing his A game again), using Kim (Maggie Grace) and her mom (Famke Janssen) as leverage. The producer credit is fine too. Filming on-location on the streets of a great capital is a Besson calling card; often Paris like in the first movie, this time Istanbul. It doesn’t cut either way that what we learn of the characters when we first meet them is pretty much what we get. Character development isn’t Besson’s strong suit, but then a lot of action movies take the same tack. The first objection to Besson’s authorship is the women. Kim is brave and useful, and fully clothed almost throughout (and the one time she isn’t it’s because she’s gone to the pool, which is something people do on vacation and a plot point besides); there are women in peril but no female degradation, gratuitous or otherwise; and, between movies Mom was transformed from witch ex-wife caricature to actual human being. The second thing that gives me pause is the plot, which basically holds together. I mean come on, a plausible Luc Besson movie? The real kicker though is the earnest tone. Taken 2 has some good action, but it doesn’t pop. No real Besson script would focus with such deadly seriousness on the job at hand that it forgot to have fun.
2 1/2 stars
One thing I liked and one thing I didn’t like: The family reconciliation theme is really very nice; Taken repaired the father-daughter relationship and this movie repairs the parents’ relationship. The car chase was great except for the way it ended, which is easily the most implausible thing in the whole movie.