Sequel ‘Taken 2’ lives up to hype

Brittany Cornelison


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When people talk of movie sequels, I tend to hear a lot of the same: “the first movie’s always best” or “there’s no way they can out do the first one.” And, as an avid moviegoer, I tend to disagree; I think that directors and actors have the ability and incentive to improve from one movie to the next.
My point was proven with the movie “Taken”  and its recently released sequel, “Taken 2”. Though there were some disappointing aspects, this movie showed that second can be just as good as first.

For those who haven’t seen “Taken”, it may be difficult to understand the sequel with little background knowledge. In the first movie, Liam Neeson (“The Grey”, “The A-Team”) takes on the role of Bryan Mills, a retired CIA operative. Mills left the CIA to be closer to his daughter in California, who lives with his ex-wife Lenore, played by Famke Janssen (“The Chameleon”). Their daughter, Kim, played by Maggie Grace (“Lockout”), somehow convinces her overprotective, reluctant father to let her vacation in Paris with a friend. She is portrayed as an average 17 year-old daughter who, while on her trip, is kidnapped and sold into prostitution. But her father, as all fathers aspire to do, came to her rescue.
I have to admit, I was a little skeptical when I heard a sequel to Taken was coming out. I mean what could happen, his daughter gets kidnapped again? It didn’t make sense to me. How could a CIA operative  allow his family to get stuck in this same situation twice?
However, I have to say I was impressed by the story line in “Taken 2.” And despite my initial confusion, his daughter did not get “taken” again.
The movie was an attention grabber from the beginning, the first scenes of the movie set in a graveyard. The men being buried were those who had sold girls, including Kim and her friend, into prostitution; they were later killed by Mills in Paris on his hunt for his lost daughter. Mills had no idea that killing these men would create a roundabout effect, but the father of one of the deceased kidnappers plots to take revenge out on Mills and his family.
The story speeds up from this point on. Mills, Kim and his ex-wife Lenore go on vacation to Istanbul to get away from California, expecting a relaxing trip. However, Mills can sense immediately that something is up and before he has a chance to act, he and his ex-wife are  kidnapped by the same gang of thugs who previously kidnapped their daughter.
Of course, Mills reverts back to his CIA espionage skills and begins searching for a way to save himself and his family. In my opinion, this is where the movie takes a slight stumble downhill.
Liam Neeson is 60 years old. Though I admire his acting ability, his talent in martial arts and fighting seems to have lost its zeal as he has aged. It seemed a bit …  fake. The feuds and gunfights are supposed to be the highlights of these action movies, right? Where the bad guys get thrown down by the hero and the good guys win? “Taken 2” just lacked the usual thrill and excitement that quality thrill movies create. The adrenaline is what sells tickets and makes people keep coming back for more.
But I do have to say, the lack of believable attack scenes was balanced out by the logical explanation behind each aspect of the movie. The writers of the script and the director did a fantastic job at molding together each and every scene throughout. Call me gullible, but I struggle with figuring out how movies will play out. So, as a result, I was sitting on the edge of my seat waiting to see how Mills would make it out of his seemingly hopeless situation. Each solution he devised was unique and gave me one of those, “Man, I never would have thought of that, I’d be dead by that point” moments.
Other viewers must have gotten the same vibe as me, because “Taken 2” has brought in over $117 million within its first two weeks in theaters. The first installment of this series, “Taken”, brought in a whopping $145 million back in 2009, according to
With such great attendance this is definitely a must-see movie for fans of “Taken” and Liam Neeson. The acting was superb, the action was “eh”, but if you must pick a reason to go, go for the suspense of the plot. The cliffhanger left me wanting more and sensing the return of Neeson in a “Taken 3”. Check it out and see if you agree.
By Brittany Cornelison