‘Taken 2’ succeeds, lacks elements of original film

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One of the standout action movies so far this year is certainly “Taken 2.” It contains all of the classic elements; enjoyable fights, car chases and an interesting lead character.

Liam Neeson (“The Dark Knight Rises”) reprises his role as Bryan Mills, a former intelligence agent. The film picks up with the families of the men Mills killed in the first installment seeking revenge. As the movie progresses Mills is forced to move throughout Istanbul in an attempt to protect his family from these men. Rade Šerbedžija (“In the Land of Blood and Honey”) portrays the main villain effectively as both a grieving father and vindictive psychopath. The cast is rounded out with Maggie Grace (“Lockout”) returning as Mill’s daughter Kim, and Famke Janssen (“The Chameleon”) as his ex-wife.

One of the strengths of the film is its ability to take a step back from the action to develop characters, and establish the bond of the Mills family. The movie takes its time and builds toward the action, giving viewers the chance to become invested in the characters. The chemistry between Neeson, Grace and Janssen make these scenes effective without feeling out of place.

The action scenes are just as they were in “Taken” and re-establish the capabilities of Mills as well. It never seems like he is acting out of character or becomes overpowered in a fight due to a hidden talent. The film becomes creative by using Mills training to allow him to perform stealth kills on his enemies so others are not alerted to his presence. Mills will engage in fist fights with characters or shoot them, but as the movie progresses the same concepts become repetitive.

An element sorely missing from the first installment is the quiet scenes where Mills uses his interrogation skills on opponents. The lack of these scenes relegates this movie as a more standard action flick, rather than combining effective elements of a thriller. In “Taken” the audience could feel the sense of anxiety alongside Mills as he searches for his daughter. This aspect falls flat in “Taken 2” because he is in constant communication with his family throughout the film.

“Taken 2” proves to be an enjoyable action film, though it lacks several elements that made the first a success. Fans of the series or classic action flicks will not be disappointed by what it has to offer, but it may not please everyone.

“Taken 2” succeds in character development but the action scenes become repetitive. Liam Neeson gives a believable performance along Maggie Grace and Famke Janssen