FILM REVIEW: Taken 2
Four years ago writer Luc Besson had a surprise hit with Taken - a film in which Liam Neeson plays Bryan Mills, a retired CIA agent who goes to Paris to save his daughter from a sex slavery ring. Taken was enjoyable enough as an old school retribution flick, which had the added bonus of providing audiences with the chance to see Neeson getting in touch with his inner ass-kicker.
Director: Olivier Megaton
Cast: Liam Neeson, Maggie Grace, Famke Janssen, Rade Serbedzija
Of course, the problem with surprise hits is that they encourage studios to turn them into franchises, and so we have Taken 2, written by Besson and starring Neeson once again.
Directed by the preposterously named Olivier Megaton, who has given us masterpieces such as Transporter 3 and Columbiana, the film sees Neeson's Mills having to wreak havoc in Istanbul as he, his wife (Janssen) and daughter (Grace) become the targets of the vengeful Albanian father of one of his victims from the first film (the father is played by Rade Serbedzija).
The plot is established within the first five minutes of the film and it is left to the audience to endure a lacklustre retread of the first film, ending in the predictable triumph of hard-kicking good over evil.
Worst of all, when Serbedzija tells Neeson that he has other sons, the potential for endless reofferings of the formula is a horrifying thought to contemplate.
Besson and Neeson would do themselves a great service if they ensure they're unavailable for any future invitations encouraging Bryan Mills to save his grandchildren in Budapest or any other as yet ''untaken" European citadels.
Perhaps they could speak to the people behind the Jason Bourne reboot and arrange for Bourne and Mills to go on a worldwide bad-guy-beating tour, stopping off occasionally to sample local wines and cuisine before blowing up cars and throwing grenades from the balconies of luxury hotels.
That would at least allow for the killing of two boring birds with one stone and some humour.