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The Kidd Vs. TAKEN 2


TAKEN 2 is a perfect example of a sequel made for no other reason than that its predecessor made a lot of money at the box office, so why not go back to the well? Following Bryan Mills (Liam Neeson) using his particular set of skills to track down his kidnapped daughter Kim (Maggie Grace) and rescue her from a ring of Albanian sex traffickers, there really is no further story to tell. What sucked you into the first film was a father’s commitment to doing everything in his power in order to protect his kid, something we would all do if the situation called for it, only we don’t all have the CIA training Neeson was able to provide Mills with to take things to a whole ‘nother level. By any means necessary was how he operated, and watching Neeson traipse around the opposite hemisphere on an aggressive mission filled with one simple purpose made for a solid flick that came with a side dish of revenge as Mills punished those who stood in his way.

So where can a sequel possibly go from there? Who can be taken this time without the premise sounding completely ridiculous? Well, in TAKEN 2, it’s the families of those dead Albanians who are out for some vengeance of their own. Apparently, sex traffickers are still the sons, brothers, husbands and fathers of people who care about their well-being, and, although they may be horrible people who do horrible things for a living, that doesn’t mean they’re not missed when they’re dead. Led by Rade Serbedzija, a group of Albanians adopt the idea of blood for blood, and target Mills, his daughter and his ex-wife Lenore (Famke Janssen) while on vacation in Istanbul, only we know they should know better than to fuck with Liam Neeson’s family once again after what happened the first time around.

And that’s really the problem with TAKEN 2. It’s not up to the challenge of upping the ante by either offering a credible threat that may put Mills in some sort of jeopardy or changing up the formula that may have worked extremely well the first time around but still had plenty of room for improvement. The Albanians are able to take Mills and Lenore captive at one point, but that actually diminishes any level of excitement TAKEN 2 might carry over from the first film. What was so thrilling about Neeson in that chapter was his constant barrage of offense in order to find his daughter before it was too late. This time around, we’re forced to watch Neeson playing defense, and it isn’t at all pretty… or fun for that matter. Who wants to see Neeson put on the sideline for any period of time in a film that requires him to be justifiably violent at all times? Believe me… you’ll be asking yourself that question on a few different occasions as TAKEN 2 progresses, and you aren’t getting a satisfying helping of Liam Neeson, bad-ass extraordinaire.

Maggie Grace is given a much more proactive role this time, in order to make up for Neeson’s break from the action, and while she’s able to act as a worthy accomplice while Neeson is out of the game, once he’s allowed to check back in, she’s reduced to an annoying sidekick whose dialogue doesn’t reach any further than “I can’t” as he’s forced to prompt her to keep doing what she’s doing if she wants to make it out of this situation alive. She at least fares a little better than Janssen, whose main contribution to TAKEN 2 is her whimpering and the constant uttering of “No!” in a variety of deliveries. I get that she’s being held prisoner against her will and everything, but hasn’t Janssen proved that she’s capable of handling a bit more substantive dialogue in such a distressing scenario that the same word over and over and over again.


Making matters worse is the nauseating direction of Olivier Megaton, whose incompetence behind the camera can’t even deliver one action or fight scene that isn’t dizzying as a result of an exorbitant amount of unnecessary edits or a sheer inability to keep the camera steady. Fight scenes are messes of shaky camera work that render you incapable of making out exactly what is happening, and for you to be unable to see the action in an action movie… yeah, that’s a major misfire in picking a disorienting style over letting the substance of the action sell itself. He isn't able to build any sort of thrilling pace either as TAKEN 2 moves from scene to scene, leaving the whole of the film feeling rather flat, which once again doesn't bode well for the type of flick this is meant to be. These are some of the same problems he exhibited in his earlier films (TRANSPORTER 3 and COLOMBIANA), proving that he hasn't yet learned from those glaring mistakes. Those were two bad films that occurred under his watch. Now he's can take credit for a trifecta. 

Neeson is the only true saving grace for TAKEN 2, but wanting to watch him bust out those skills once more really isn't reason enough to recommend this follow-up. It does give me plenty of opportunity to just tell you to go back and revisit TAKEN as you'll be getting a much better film and not a lesser retread that's just going through the motions to capitalize on the success of the initial installment of the series. That one will satisfy your bad-ass Neeson fix... this one won't do anything of the sort. 


-Billy Donnelly

"The Infamous Billy The Kidd"

Follow me on Twitter.

Readers Talkback
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  • Oct. 4, 2012, 10:46 p.m. CST

    No thanks.

    by ShogunMaster

    Looks like shit.

  • Oct. 4, 2012, 10:46 p.m. CST

    Does Maggie Grace run like a retarded labrador in Taken 2?

    by Hardboiled Wonderland

    Because her running like a retarded labarador in Taken 1 ruined the film for me.

  • Oct. 4, 2012, 10:49 p.m. CST

    Hey, I was first! Dangnabbit.

    by Hardboiled Wonderland

    And dangnabbit x2, I have Maggie Grace's stupid goofy retarded running stuck in my head again...

  • Oct. 4, 2012, 10:51 p.m. CST

    Never quite bought Liam as a badass.

    by Smerdyakov

    But after all, he is Irish.

  • Oct. 4, 2012, 10:51 p.m. CST

    Hollywoo Sequel with star billing, no likey

    by Tanning Chatum

    I assert that there is a pattern to The Kidd's reviews. Hollywood movies with star billing tend to be disliked. Indie, underdog or niche films tend to get good reviews. Thoughts?

  • Oct. 4, 2012, 10:51 p.m. CST

    I'd rather see Stallone's remake of Charles Bronson's Death Wish.

    by Hardboiled Wonderland

    Actually, no. No I wouldn't. I don't want to see either film. Good gods... that stupid running. Make it stop!

  • and, frankly, I'm a touch insulted that you'd compare him to Maggie Grace's acting.

  • Oct. 4, 2012, 10:56 p.m. CST

    Maggie Grace - annoying in everything.

    by JP

    Don't get me wrong, I'd titty fuck her little strawberry ones, but i wouldn't give over coin to see her in a movie.

  • Oct. 4, 2012, 11:06 p.m. CST

    Seriously, guys, STOP taking my daughter!!!

    by Coughlins Laws


  • Oct. 4, 2012, 11:23 p.m. CST

    Kidd hates all movies

    by 2soon2eat

    Not saying he isn't right about this one but... It's always "VS" this and "VS" that. Hardly ever read anything by him, these days.

  • Oct. 4, 2012, 11:24 p.m. CST


    by The Infamous Billy The Kidd

    Yeah, DREDD, END OF WATCH, LOOPER... nothing Hollywood about any of those.

  • Oct. 4, 2012, 11:25 p.m. CST

    @stockardchanningtatum, apologies to your labrador

    by Hardboiled Wonderland

    All Maggie Grace needed to do was stick her tongue out when she was running though.

  • Oct. 4, 2012, 11:34 p.m. CST


    by Mennen

  • Oct. 4, 2012, 11:36 p.m. CST

    There's a really horrid underhanded theme to Taken re: women

    by Hardboiled Wonderland

    If you're "pure" like Maggie Grace's character, you won't get touched by the evil traffickers and you'll be kept for a rich Arabic prince who wants his girls "pure and innocent". But if you're a dumb slut like her friend, you get repeatedly raped, shot up with herion, and left to die chained to a bed. I found this absolutely disgusting, to be honest, it was crude ham-fisted conservative morality shoved into the movie.

  • Oct. 4, 2012, 11:46 p.m. CST

    I hate Olivier Megaton

    by BillEmic

    He's probably the least competent action director working today and it amazes me that Luc Besson keeps giving him work. "Transporter 3" is one thing but the sequel to what was Besson's biggest hit in a long time? Come on. I dug the first movie but I might skip this one at the theaters to spare myself Megaton's sloppy directing.

  • Oct. 4, 2012, 11:50 p.m. CST

    Kidd...You said "Shakey Cam"?

    by vettebro

    I'm out. I hate shakey cam. I like the long legs in the movie pic though! Thumbs up for that. : ) Maybe I'll catch this on Blu...maybe.

  • Oct. 4, 2012, 11:57 p.m. CST

    What's with the fucking running?!!

    by KGersen

    hardboiled wonderland, you sir hit it right on the nail - the daughter's running in the first film made me want to punch someone. I get it, she's supposed to still be a young girl at heart, so she has to run like some floppy armed, legs akimbo, moron. And your second point is spot on as well - the implied moral story re the girl and her friend made me want to retch. Have never understood why people could like original film so much. And you'll have to nail my cold corpse to the seat to get me to sit through a sequel to this shit.

  • Oct. 5, 2012, 12:06 a.m. CST

    Shakey Cam....PASS!

    by 900LBGorilla

    I was going to see this even if it was 2-star fare until I heard that. All action directors who use this retarded-ass style should be busted down to filming music videos. That style is for ass-wipes who are too talentless to shoot a well choreographed action scene...and for ADD addled retards. FAIL

  • Oct. 5, 2012, 12:11 a.m. CST


    by Fries Against

  • Oct. 5, 2012, 12:23 a.m. CST

    would be better as an x film

    by gun_will_travel

    90 minutes of janssen and grace in the hands of angry sex traffickers - I'm there

  • I remember being all pumped to see that Lockout movie because of Guy Pearce and the fact that the Taken people had made it but the reviews convinced me otherwise and I still have not seen it. This review and rotten tomatoes' rating (15%) have convinced me not to see this. My friends and I have plans to see this tomorrow night and I am actually going to back out. Movies are too expensive these days to waste money on lazy studio shit. I'd rather spend the money on 2 steak dinners and watch the original at home for free. I love watching movies at home, there aren't any cell phone users or noisy douchebags or that guy who's invading my peripheral vision with his tall head.

  • Oct. 5, 2012, 1 a.m. CST

    Pierre Morel directed the first Taken

    by Deaft0ne

    not Luc Besson. Maybe they will get Nimrod Antal to direct Taken 3: Rise of the Machines? Regardless, Taken 2 looks a lot like The Hangover Part 2 as in it's essentially just a by-the-numbers cash-grab virtual remake of the first one. I'll watch it on Netflix or Amazon prime for free whenever it shows up.

  • Oct. 5, 2012, 1:50 a.m. CST

    Lockout was awful

    by pearlanddean

    I really wanted to like it but it was disjointed, the action was pared-down and dumb and ultimately it was just boring. I was already avoiding Taken 2 in the UK as it's been trimmed by request of the distributors to get a lower 12A rating. No doubt it will be uncut on Blu but in the meantime my money is staying in my pocket. Especially if bloody shaky-cam is being used. That ruined Bourne 2 for me and to a lesser extent, 3. The only films worth my money this year were the Avengers and Dredd.

  • She'll be fine, we'll come back for her at the end of the movie.

  • Oct. 5, 2012, 3:41 a.m. CST

    I believe every single word of this review.

    by DoctorZoidberg

    So do the rest of you, and you know it. Kidd might be frustrating at times due to has tendency to focus on the negative, but c'mon this film is obviously a hack job retread cash grab. I also like the fact that Liam chooses fracking ISTANBUL when he is on the hit list of the world's foreign scum society. Nice safe city, no risk of terrorism or abduction. Why go to a first world nation or a remote tropical paradise when you can go to Istanbul? I mean, I love a good kebab, but give me a break.

  • Oct. 5, 2012, 3:59 a.m. CST


    by Tony

    Not sure why you don't buy Neeson as a badass. The guy is a strapping 6'4" (and a proper 6'4", rather than a "Tom Cruise/Hollywood 5'8" means 5'5" version!!) and was a junior boxing champion back in Ireland - no easy place to be No. 1 in a fight!!. He might not have gone for these types of roles in the past but in a real life 1-on-1 I have him beating pretty much any of the other older action stars popping up in things like The Expendables. Most of the younger ones too (cage fighters exempted as those guys remain fighting fit and, well, not 60!). Having said that, it won't make this film any better. Really enjoyed the first for what it was but two things put me off the sequel from the outset: (1) Mills is taken and has to be rescued by the daughter - what bollocks!; and (2) Olivier fucking Megaton. The man cannot direct for shit and I'm not wasting my money paying to see a film where the fight scenes only serve to give me epilepsy.

  • Oct. 5, 2012, 4:11 a.m. CST

    I Toatally agree about Oliver Megaton.

    by kim

  • Oct. 5, 2012, 4:12 a.m. CST

    AICN seems to be dividing into two camps, like the country.....

    by Balkin Flabgurter

    One camp hates everything that doesn't fit a pre-constructed ideal they have made for themselves, thus calling out shit at every turn. The other camp is extremely prejudiced towards the first camp, and almost apologetic for obvious cash grabs made by Hollywood and attacking those who sometimes have valid criticism towards very bad films. The space in the middle seems to be getting smaller and smaller. Rock the fuck on kidd!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  • Oct. 5, 2012, 4:31 a.m. CST


    by GooBoy

    I think a much better sequel would be Amanda's parents (the "slutty" friend from the first film) having Liam Neeson's Bryan Mills arrested for obstruction of justice for not even bothering to notify the authorities of the kidnapping, hence not even giving their daughter an opportunity to maaaaybe not get continually raped then murdered. The movie can be two hours of Liam Neeson trying to avoid getting raped in the shower.

  • Oct. 5, 2012, 5 a.m. CST

    This sounds like a Die Hard 2 situation

    by lv_426

    John McClane ends up in the middle of another terrorist plot on Christmas like a year later. It would have made more sense to have Neeson's character trying to save someone else than his daughter again. Maybe Taken 3 will be more unique, and will be like the Die Hard With A Vengeance of this series. Maybe have Neeson team up with Statham's Transporter character?

  • Oct. 5, 2012, 5:06 a.m. CST

    how is europe the opposite hemisphere?

    by Waka_Flocka

    he was in bloody france in the first one, lol.

  • Oct. 5, 2012, 5:10 a.m. CST

    by Cobra--Kai

    lv_426, yeah you're right. I thought they had a kinda sequel set up at the end of the first movie with the Holly Valance, Britney Spears type pop star character. Could have had Neeson bodyguard for her again on some luxury yacht and have her TAKEN by Somalian pirates or some Jamaican drug cartel. That shit writes itself and could have been very entertaining.

  • Oct. 5, 2012, 5:16 a.m. CST


    by Tanning Chatum

    Dredd was made with a very, very small budget and was not promoted, and was actually pretty accurate to the comic. By no means a typical holywood comic film and certainly not one in terms of budget or scale. Looper is the first movie from an indie film maker who has gotten enough acclaim to be given some money to play with. Despite the star billing, it also isn't a typical hollywood film. I haven't seen End of Watch. Taken was exactly a hollywood film, with a moderate budget, establish actors and directors, heavily marketed. Taken 2 is a sequel since the first made money. That doesn't mean it's a bad film, but since it is such a "hollywood" film, I don't find it surprising you judge it harshly.

  • Waiting till video for this though I enjoyed the original. Taken was better than anyone, Neeson included, expected it to be.

  • Oct. 5, 2012, 5:25 a.m. CST

    Bryan Mills is the new Paul Kersey

    by CuervoJones

    They both should have no relatives.

  • Oct. 5, 2012, 6 a.m. CST

    Shakey Cam = Adios, Amigo

    by CuervoJones

    Shakey Cam is a cancer.

  • Oct. 5, 2012, 7:10 a.m. CST

    Spot on review

    by dawi_pawi

    Watched this pile of tosh last night, woeful! Neeson tries his best in it, but somewhere, right now, he's cashing a big cheque whilst crying a little inside

  • You may think she runs like a retard, but that girl has got some incredible legs.

  • Oct. 5, 2012, 7:46 a.m. CST

    @gordan's alive - Badass Liam

    by Smerdyakov

    I don't know. Maybe he looks too much like my social studies teacher in high school.

  • Oct. 5, 2012, 8:18 a.m. CST

    Actually that would explain it!!

    by Tony

  • Oct. 5, 2012, 8:22 a.m. CST

    Don't care how she runs, that chick is gorgeous

    by BackwardGalaxy

    Maggie Grace.

  • Oct. 5, 2012, 8:44 a.m. CST

    Liam Neeson doesn't care.

    by kolchak

    It's only been 3 years since his wife died, and he's obviously been accepting any project he's offered to escape from the pain. <br /><br /> Clash of the titans, anyone? Battleship? <br /><br /> Either way, he's awesome, and I'm sure he gave the material here his all, even if that material was paper thin.

  • Oct. 5, 2012, 8:58 a.m. CST

    Liam always works for a paycheck except for....

    by Smerdyakov

    That movie he did with Christina Ricci naked. He did that one for free.

  • Oct. 5, 2012, 8:59 a.m. CST


    by jawaburger

    Luc Besson wrote and produced both Taken movies, no one said he directed either one. It was merely stated that they were his movies, which they are.

  • Oct. 5, 2012, 9:15 a.m. CST

    That is one sexy leg.

    by jim loder

    Definitely worth a few DVR pauses when this movie is on HBO every fucking night in two years.

  • Oct. 5, 2012, 9:25 a.m. CST

    Dont think reviews will hurt this movie too much...

    by Cornholio3000

  • Oct. 5, 2012, 9:25 a.m. CST

    Dont think reviews will hurt this movie too much...

    by Cornholio3000

  • Oct. 5, 2012, 9:28 a.m. CST

    Sorry about the double post...

    by Cornholio3000

    But reviews probably wont hurt this movie too much. The first movie was just stupid fun. This one looks like the same exact stupid fun. As long as Liam Neeson keeps on killing europeans, audiences should be happy.

  • Oct. 5, 2012, 9:28 a.m. CST

    Agreed. Grace's sexy legs don't trump ShakyCam. I'm out.

    by OgieOglethorpe

    Fucking Greengrass ruined action movies when that 2nd Bourne flick made bank at the box office.

  • Oct. 5, 2012, 9:36 a.m. CST


    by slone13

    And the first one wasn't?

  • Oct. 5, 2012, 10:16 a.m. CST

    Gotta love how he and family takes a vacation in Istanbul!

    by HollywoodHellraiser

    Not one of the terrorist capital in the world but makes you wonder why he didn't book a vacation in Cuba or Russia? Wifey should start to wonder if hubby is looking for some excitement or trying to cash some insurance? Just sayin'.

  • Even here in the good ole' US of A. Rich perverts are more willing to spend a lot more money to deflower a virgin than have what they would consider "used goods" (evil elitists have standards, you know.. not to mention that whole "I'm so evil that part of it is the empowering act of destroying innocence" thing too). So get sickened by TAKEN essentially stating how women have been treated by (bad) men for 1,000s of years now. Sorry your panties are in a bunch because TAKEN simply plays with what men have made into a cliche. __________________ Regardless, I'm with you Cobrai-Kai. They could have had Neeson and the singer both TAKEN hostage, with Maggie getting her dad's friends to go after both of them. Halfway through Neeson breaks free, so the bad guys have to worry about a group from the outside, and a crazy man on the inside, wiping them out. And yes, they should have dealt with the parents of the other girl too. And would it have been that implausible to have them kidnapped within the US? Foreigners know how to get a plane ticket, you know.

  • Oct. 5, 2012, 11:14 a.m. CST

    hollywoodhellraiser: wouldn't THAT have been a kick!

    by Monroville

    His wife gets kidnapped and Liam tells his daughter that his (back stabbing) wife got killed in a hostage attempt. The movie ends with her (fake) funeral and Liam getting the life insurance money. Meanwhile, the feather-weight uber-rich 2nd husband from the first movie tries to rescue her and promptly gets his ass handed to him, whereupon another wealthy sheik purchases him because he wants to deflower a virgin. End music to HOLY GRAIL rolls over credits. The end.

  • ...if you want a positive review based on the movie getting one or two things right, see Harry's reviews, and to a lesser extent, everyone else who reviews for the site. It doesn't hurt to have one guy who tells it from a little more "critical" perspective.

  • Oct. 5, 2012, 12:14 p.m. CST

    Coincidence is NOT causality...

    by Darth Macchio

    One of the most common logical fallacies and we see it EVERYWHERE time and time again. Yet another idiotic by-product of our "intelligence" as a species. (you still 100% sure you didn't need mathematics when you were in school?)

  • Oct. 5, 2012, 12:17 p.m. CST

    @ monroville. Sounds sick but in a good way.

    by HollywoodHellraiser

    Only problem, I wouldn't know who to cheer for. And it doesn't even sound like a Lifetime movie.

  • Oct. 5, 2012, 2:20 p.m. CST

    Olivier Megaton?? LOL!

    by Pat

    I'm guessing he's Euro and it's pronounced 'O-live-ee-aiee Muh-gah-tone'. Not going to do the research to find out. This sounds like an easy paycheck for Neeson and nothing else. The whole "sideline the hero" thing didn't work well for Dark Knight Rises and doesn't appear to work well here.

  • Oct. 5, 2012, 3:43 p.m. CST

    Taken To: The Turkey Mission

    by kindofabigdeal

  • How about the President's daughter is kidnapped abroad, and the CIA needs Neeson's bad assery to find her in 24 hours before the media puts the pieces together and spills the beans. This works because of Neeson's antics from the first film would have eventually become known to some degree by the CIA and other intelligence agencies.

  • Oct. 5, 2012, 9:14 p.m. CST

    @monroville, let me spell it out for you

    by Hardboiled Wonderland

    The hero's daughter remains a virgin. She gets drugged up a bit, but only with valium so she doesn't kick and scream and attempt to escape. The hero saves her with her virginity and innocence intact. Her stupid slutty ignorant friend who dresses likea prostitute and got them into the mess gets repeatedly raped, used as a heroin pin cushion, and left to die chained to a bed. And you think this ham-fisted conservation morality tale is ok, why?

  • Oct. 5, 2012, 9:15 p.m. CST

    Fuck me, I'm tired. I meant conservative, not conservation.

    by Hardboiled Wonderland

  • Oct. 6, 2012, 3:33 a.m. CST


    by electraglide

    It's a movie, get over yourself