The Watchers

The Watchers

Sunday, 7 October 2012

Review: Taken 2 (UK Cert: 12A)

Every now and then, a film comes along and grabs movie fans by the throat and we all take attention. These films are, in the most, original or more than often take something and make it their own. Taken was a great example of the latter: a backpacking young American girl is taken by a group of men in Europe; what they didn’t expect was her father- Bryan Mills- is a man with a ‘certain set of skills’. Those skills are from years as a CIA operative. The original was a breath of fresh air – it wasn’t original in any way (for example, this story was made in the 1980s with Schwarzenegger in Commando) but what made the film amazing was Liam Neeson’s performance as Mills- a man who would do anything to get his daughter back: kill, torture and maim – nothing got in his way.

The first film was what we like to call a “surprise hit” and rumours of a sequel ran for some time – then it happened and now it’s on release. The trouble with following up such a story is: what do you do?  Do you follow up that story with all the characters or do you follow up on the character? Taken 2 does a brave move and not only follows up on where all the characters are from the first film – what it does is the very wise thing. Taken 2 should be called Taken: Part 2.

The film picks up a little after the last film. The people Mills killed- the ones who kidnapped his daughter- well, their families are seeking revenge. They’ve been waiting for an opportunity and they track down the family on a holiday in Istanbul, where Mills has been working. They take Mills and his ex-wife hostage while the daughter helps them from afar – via phone calls with Mills.

Does it live up to the first film? No. But, as a follow up, as a part 2 – this film delivers. What it fails on is at no point did I feel jeopardy for the characters or did I get the same gut feeling I did when I watched the first – when I watched the first film, I was cheering Neeson on - here, it lacks some punch.  Neeson gives a great performance of Mills – he delivers just what you want: a tough but very intelligent hero, always one step ahead and prepared. Famke Janssen makes a larger role here as Mrs Mills and Maggie Grace is great again as their daughter.

The events of the film unfold and we’re taken along for the ride. Unfortunately the film doesn’t have the edge that the original had – the original had a dark tone (maybe because of the sex slave trade subject matter?) All in all, if you loved the first you will enjoy this – as long as you go in knowing it isn’t the first film, but it is a fun filled part 2.  However, it is up there with some of the best sequels

Rating: 3 out 5



  1. Good review Rhys. It’s basically the first Taken movie, but this time, with just more of everything else. That’s not terrible, but it’s not all that smart or original either.

    1. yeah spot on - its a sequel so it is what it is. But it is a good example. Rhys