Cool, efficient, and completely generic, Taken 2 opens in theaters around the world today, an action vehicle that's ready to take as many paying customers as possible on a ride no one will remember in the morning.
"The plot follows the exact same structure as the first film," observed our own Brian Clark in his review. "It starts with Liam Neeson's character Bryan trying hard but blowing it as a dad, it moves to an exotic location where some bad guys go after Bryan and his family, and concludes with (spoiler) Bryan killing all of them, followed by a schmatlzy denoument. In this case, the location is Istanbul and the bad guy is the father of the human trafficker that Bryan electrocuted back in Paris."
Neeson is his dependable self here, his larger-than-life ass-kicking persona fully on display, but, strangely enough, that persona is used most effectively when he is stationary, talking on a phone to his daughter, calmly giving her directions so that she can deliver a firearm to him, even though neither one knows precisely where the other is located. As Brian describes the sequence:
"There's also one pleasantly absurd sequence involving Neeson's daughter (Maggie Grace, looking far too old to be in high school) casually tossing grenades off rooftops that pushes the film's constant implausibility past the point of stupidity and into the realm of sly genius. If only director Olivier Megaton had pushed the film further in this direction, this unnecessary retread may not have felt so bland."
You can read Brian's review in full right here.
Undoubtedly, Taken 2 will be a big moneymaker this weekend and be counted as another feature in the cap for Luc Besson's production company -- my observations on his successful operation are here -- but I think you'd do just as well to pop for a rental of Taken, close your eyes, and imagine that Paris is Istanbul.