Ever since I saw Liam Neeson as ‘Priest’ Vallon in Gangs of New York, I’ve been a big fan of him as an actor. Neeson just has the badassness about him. There is even somewhat of an underground push to replace him in all the internet Chuck Norris jokes.
I saw the first Taken when it came out back in 2008 and was a huge fan of it. Despite being a pretty straight forward action flick, Neeson really carried the character of Bryan Mills. He made the role believable and was fun to watch as a Jason Bourne style action hero.
I had high hopes going into Taken 2. With Neeson at the helm, I assumed that it would be at least believable. While Liam pulls off a believable character once again, the movie is not all that exciting. The story was simply a little flat. It’s actually a lot more like Taken 1.5 than a true sequel.
There was a lot of opportunity to take this film in another direction and provide some more character development. There are some hints at a rekindled romance between Famke Janssen and Neeson’s characters and some glimpses at the emotional aftermath from the first film’s events on Maggie Grace’s character; but Taken 2 does not really dive into these issues.
At first I thought I was just tired and that is why the movie came off bland. However my movie going confidante, Amber Alejos concurred with my assertion. I brought Amber along, whom despite not being an action movie fan, did like the first Taken and was equally excited as me to see the sequel. She too felt that Taken 2 lacked the luster to provide the same kind of experience as the original.
Overall Taken 2 was a mild disappointment. It might be worth a rental, but if I wanted to see Neeson in that capacity I would probably just watch the first one, or maybe Darkman.