The Family That’s Kidnapped Together… Taken 2 ***1/2

Buy Taken 2 on DVD

If the Mills family of Los Angeles asks you to vacation together, politely decline.

Taken 2 is the enjoyable sequel to the popular original of 2007 created by Luc Besson and Robert Mark Kamen.  Although highly successful and versatile on their own Besson (The Big Blue, La Femme Nikita, Leon: The Professional) and Kamen (Taps, Karate Kid, Gladiator) have collaborated for years yielding such films as The Fifth Element, and Transporter (1, 2 and 3) and now Taken (1 and 2).

History suggests that sequels usually fail miserably or are best watched as rentals at-home on a slow night.  Rarely are they winners, let alone capable as stand-alone features.  Taken 2 is clearly the latter.  Oh to be sure, Taken 2 fits the standard Besson-Kamen formula; good setup, engaging thrills and action, clever dialogue for the leads, and a great sendoff for the bad guy(s).  If you are expecting something different or highly original do not attend a showing.

Taken 2 returns Liam Neeson, Famke Jannsen, Maggie Grace in their original roles and adds the ever perfect; Rade Serbedzija as the bad guy.

Neeson is great again as the bad ass good guy dad.  Jannsen (one of my favorite actresses) is solid in this film.  Grace continues to improve as this film adds some meat to her role.  My only issue with Grace would be that at 30 years of age it is getting harder and harder to belief this women is the “young immature little girl.”

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