Liam Neeson had an unusual career upswing when Taken was released in 2009. Suddenly, an actor in his late 50s known primarily for his roles in Oscar-bait films or the occasional big-budget blockbuster as a wise man found a new type of role: ass-kicking action star. Since Taken, Neeson’s found himself in a number of similar roles, all with diminishing returns. This brings us to Taken 2, the sequel to Taken that hews so closely to the original, one has to wonder if the filmmakers were tempted just to re-release the original film with a number affixed to the title.
Taken 2 picks up a short time after the events of Taken, with family members of the men killed by Bryan Mills (Neeson) in the first film intent on getting revenge. While on vacation with his daughter and ex-wife, the family is targeted, leaving Mills with a short period of time to rescue himself and his family.
There are minor subplots to the movie, but the summary above is pretty much all there is to the film. The film’s runtime is a scant 91 minutes, and Taken 2 moves efficiently through it. The film does nothing substantial to distinguish itself from its predecessor, though. Taken was elevated in large part by Neeson’s surprise turn in an action thriller, but audiences have seen so much of Neeson in this type of role for the past few years that it doesn’t seem special anymore. Taken 2 is not a horrible film, but it’s very repetitive of what audiences have already seen with Taken. Nothing new, nothing special. The only question is whether or not the eventual Taken 3 will take a similar approach.