Taken 2 takes place about 3 months after the first movie finished (Taken, 2008) with most of Neesons victims being shipped back to Albania for family burials. A vengeful father seeks redemption for his son's killer so sets out to track, find and kill Neeson and his family including daughter Kim and estranged wife Lenore, just as the family are making amends with each other after the Paris escapade and are close to a rekindling of the magic they once shared.
This time, their in Istanbul after the Albanians have tracked Neeson to his Hotel its Neeson himself (Bryan) and Jansen (Lenore) who are Taken, leaving daughter Kim (Maggie Grace) to man-up and work with her dad via sneaky phone messages and the use of his armoury suitcase filled with guns and grenades to escape her own persuers, find her parents and work with them to take down Krasniqi and his new batch of Albainian cronies.
As there was no Blog in 2008 I didn't have the chance to publically rave about one of the best thriller movies I've seen of recent years and even on DVD (purchased yesterday, HMV - £3) it still managed to grip me at every turn - totally setting me up for the sequel. The continuity of the two movies is great but sadly, the second installment just seemed to lack a certain element that the first movie had in spades.
Dont get me wrong - this is by no means a dud - but I have to say the first one is far better. Maybe it was the 18 cert given to the DVD and the fact Neeson was the hunter rather than the hunted - being far more assertive and in control where this time, being on the defensive he just seems a little less pissed. There's no strapping baddies to chars and surging thousands of volts through them this time around.
The action scenes however are pretty fast paced and although looking a little ragged around the edges - Neeson is matched against similarily older persuers - making the fights a little more realistic. There's a great back street car chase - almost on par with those seen in Ronin or even one of the Bourne escapades but again - with Kim behind the wheel pulling off handbrake and J turns is a little far fetched, especially after the early part of the movie shows hers struggling with driving lessons. The whole scene seemed a little contradictory but nethertheless, it looked good on screen.
Maggie Grace has developed nicely from the slightly bratty teen she came across as is Part 1 and although only actually supposed to be a few months older - the 4yr gap has been kind to both her looks and talent. Famke Jansen on the other hand has been a fave of mine since Xenia Onatopp (Goldeneye, 1995) but nearly 20 years on - she's still got it!
What's good about this is you dont really need to have seen part 1 to get whats going on in part 2. There are sufficient black and white flashbacks to explain the plot but as mentioned above - with the first DVD on sale in UK stores for under a fiver, I would highly reccommend getting the original and witnessing what in my mind, is a cracking movie.