Box office: Taken 2
Liam Neeson has always been a solid, well known, dependable actor. Pre 2008, his biggest role was in Steven Spielberg’s “Schindler’s List,” where he earned an Oscar nomination for his role as Oskar Schindler, but the leading roles and fame he fully deserved never really materialized thereafter. Then in 2008, the surprise hit of the year was the relatively low-budget action film, “Taken,” which introduced Neeson as a bona fide action hero and propelled him to superstardom. Without “Taken,” there may have been no starring roles for him in “Unknown,” “Clash of the Titans,” “The A-Team” or “The Grey.” He is now returning to the film that gave him his second wind as former CIA agent Bryan Mills in “Taken 2.”
The film picks up in the wake of the chaos and destruction caused by Mills after he rescued his daughter from an Albanian prostitution ring. In leaving behind a trail of bodies belonging to the Albanian mafia, he made them angry and desperate for revenge.
Even though they did steal his daughter and try to force her into a life of sex and slavery, which would suggest they had it coming, it doesn’t stop them from feeling aggrieved. A year later, Murad, (Rade Šerbedzija), a gangster and the father of one of Mills’ victims, decides to take revenge by having Mills’ wife (Famke Janssen) “taken” and his daughter (Maggie Grace) “Taken 2.” (See what I did there?)
Made on a budget of $25 million, “Taken” went on to gross more than 10 times that, which made a sequel pretty much inevitable.
However, I personally failed to see what made the film so appealing. Sure, Neeson scowling, “What I do have are a very particular set of skills; skills that make me a nightmare for people like you…I will look for you, I will find you, and I will kill you” was great and gave me chills. But after that, it was just one scene of him punching people in the face after another. That’s fine if you like action, but with no real story plus some shocking acting, I lost interest after the fourth broken neck.
But, if you were one of the many millions who did like the first “Taken,” I can’t see any reason why you wouldn’t like “Taken 2.” As the trailer says, watch this film if you want to see Neeson do “what he does best,” only this time with a bigger budget!