It is incredible how Liam Neeson has reinvented himself and given his career a second life. He has always been a likable actor that audiences have identified with but he was always lower billing and usually a supporting character in his films. In 1993 Steven Spielberg cast him in the lead role in his Holocaust film Schindler’s List and that seemed to change things for Neeson. Suddenly he was headlining movies like Rob Roy and Michael Collins, but shortly thereafter he fell back into the supporting roles in films like K-19: The Widowmaker, Gangs of New York, Love, Actually and Batman Begins. In 2008’s Taken, he played Bryan Mills, a retired CIA agent who tried to get his kidnapped teenage daughter back using his unique skill set. The film was a huge hit and made Neeson into a Hollywood ‘badass’. Afterwards he has a mix of supporting roles in huge films like Clash of the Titans and lead roles in films like The A-Team and the megahit The Grey, but he seems content now with an even blend of roles, seemingly taking what he deems necessary or interesting. Audiences are fine with that as well and now he returns to the hit role of Bryan Mills for Taken 2. Although thought by many to be inferior to the original, Taken 2 was still a solid hit taking in about the same box office as the original.
While in Istanbul on business, Bryan Mills (Neeson) is surprised by the appearance of his ex-wife Lenore (Famke Janssen) and daughter Kim (Maggie Grace) who join him for an impromptu vacation. Unfortunately, the friends and family members of the criminals Mills killed in the first film are out to exact revenge for their lost brethren and kidnap Mills and his wife. Kim must now help Mills via phone to get her parents out and let Mills take care of the situation once and for all.
Many people complained that Taken 2 was just more of the same as the first film, but I for one expected nothing but. When I sit down to watch a sequel to a film like Taken, that is exactly what I want…more ass kicking. And that is what I got. Taken 2 is fast paced, inventive and fun. The scenes of Kim following her father’s directions to locate him are brilliant and tons of fun. And once Mills is loose again, the action is non-stop. I am not sure exactly what audiences were expecting with Taken 2, but I had a great time with it and it was nice to see the characters all back doing what they do best.
The Blu-ray from FOX is gorgeous. With the film taking place in Istanbul, the scenery is beautiful and the transfer shows it off to full effect. Natural bold colors, amazing clarity and fine detail are present throughout with a top notch sound field as well. Taken 2 is exactly what it should be: a solid, exhilaratingly fun action thriller with Liam Neeson kicking ass. No more needed.
Available now on Blu-ray and DVD.