January 6, 2013 -- The first film, “Taken” (2008) was an O.K. movie, but not overly impressive, but it was very successful, so a sequel was made this year. At the end of the sequel, the plot clearly leaves room for another sequel after this. I would not bet against it since both films grossed over $100 million in ticket sales.
As is the case with most sequels, this is more of the same, but not as good as the first film was. In this film, Murad Krasniqi (Rade Serbedzija of “X-Men First Class”) vows revenge against Bryan Mills (Liam Neeson of “The Grey”) the man who killed his son in the first film. Simple, straightforward, right? It ends up being a very complicated game of tag with crooks, cops, embassy troops, hotel security guards all against the indestructible killing machine, Bryan Mills.
Krasniqi spends a lot of money and has a small army at his disposal, but has a hard time catching, then keeping the elusive Mills and his wife, Lenore (Famke Janssen of “X-Men”). They also have a hard time catching Mills' daughter, Kim (Maggie Grace of “The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn - Part 2”) and she actually helps her dad escape with some daring driving, even though she flunked her driving test twice.
There are car chases through the middle of Istanbul (where most of the story takes place) lots of fist fights, gun fights, chases on foot across rooftops, and some scenes of torture. It is a very gritty film, but not very believable. When the bad guys capture Bryan and Lenore, they bind Lenore in chains but they only use a flimsy pair of handcuffs, which look like plastic, on Bryan. They do not post a guard to watch the pair, either, or find the phone he had hidden on him. He is able to call Kim. She brings him a gun and he easily gets loose from his cuffs by rubbing them against a sharp piece of metal and kills all the guards.
Bryan then escapes, but forgets to bring his injured wife with him, so she is captured again. Bryan and Kim steal a taxi, with Kim driving they smash a whole bunch of private property, terrorize pedestrians, kill a policeman, smash through a bunch of police cars and smash through all those anti-terrorist barriers at the American Embassy, and get past all the guards and all the guns to get free. The Republicans are right, security is lax at American Embassies these days. Through Bryan's connections, authorities somehow let him loose again in Istanbul, despite all the laws he has broken escaping from the bad guys, including that cop he shot (well, he was a corrupt cop anyway, and a Muslim too, probably).
Bryan kills a bunch more bad guys to rescue his wife, who he improbably finds all by himself, in a very large foreign city. Authorities let him loose again after all this, perhaps on the promise that he never again returns to Istanbul. Bryan's multiple killings reminds me a bit of those multiple killings done by drone attacks in other countries. They may be illegal, but we do them anyway and we get away with it. The Ugly American indeed, above the law, and proud of it. This is a halfway decent action film, but I do hope if they make another sequel, they make a better one. This film rates a C.
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