DVD Review: Taken 2

Four years ago, Taken smashed into theaters as a very good January release, a rarity, as most use the beginning of the year to catch up with the awards darlings that continue to trickle down to the little people out of their limited releases. It also officially cemented what most of us had long suspected: Liam Neeson is a total badass.

And then the sequel was announced. On the one hand, expectations were high because the first film was so damn entertaining. On the other it seemed a completely unnecessary sequel, as most are.

When we catch-up with our hero, several months have passed since the events of the first film. Bryan (Neeson) is on better speaking terms with his ex-wife, Lenore (Famke Janssen), and still very protective of his teenage daughter, Kim (Maggie Grace). After accepting a temporary security job in Istanbul, Bryan invites Lenore and Kim to spend a few days with him on vacation, as Lenore and her second husband are now having marital issues. Unbeknownst to Bryan, the father of one of the men that originally took Kim has vowed revenge for the death of his son, and kidnaps Bryan and Lenore, leaving Kim alone to find and save them.

Taken 2 doesn't suffer from typical sequelitis. That is to say everything isn't bigger and louder in Istanbul than Paris. The plot isn't overly complex either, as it's a rather simple tale of revenge. It just simply feels pointless.

It was slightly interesting to revisit this family and see how the events of the first film had affected them. It also makes sense that Bryan could never escape some sort of retribution from the many he killed when looking for Kim. So this second installment should have worked. Sadly, it was just dull, especially compared to the first that seemed a bit fresher for what it was.

To boil it down to a "memorability factor," the first film impressed me enough that I retained probably 95% of it four years after one screening. The sequel? Taken 2 is mostly lost in my memory bank two weeks after seeing it.

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