The body count rises in ‘Taken 2’ as the plot substance drops

“Taken 2” is the ideal movie for action lovers and fans of the previous movie, “Taken.” Just like the first movie, it is fast-paced with no time wasted getting into the action. If your expectations are fighting, gunplay and more fighting, then you will not be disappointed. However, besides action, the movie has nothing else to
offer—which may or may not be a good thing, depending on your perspective.
Liam Neeson reprises his role as ex-CIA preventer Bryan Mills. Spoiler alert: someone gets taken. This time, it’s Mills and his ex-wife Lenore who have to be initially rescued by their daughter, Kim, the victim from the first film.
The movie starts off with the groundwork for the ensuing action. Lenore is single again, Kim is getting her driver’s license and, somewhere in an unknown village, a funeral is being held for the victims of Mills’ fury from the first movie.
The fun begins when Mills is on his way to Istanbul for a job. While there, his ex-wife and daughter show up for a surprise visit as part of a romantic scheme the daughter develops to get her parents back together. Unbeknownst to them, the father of the kidnappers from the first film is enraged that his sons were killed. When he discovers that the whole Mills family is in Istanbul, the story kicks into gear. In the last film Mills left a staggering body count in his mission to rescue his daughter, and the villain of “Taken 2”, Murad, remembers every one of them.
While Mills and Lenore are on date, Murad takes Mills and Lenore and threatens to kill them. Luckily for Mills, Kim stays behind at their hotel and is later called by Mills and informed of the situation.
Kim’s rescue of her parents is, for lack of a better term, really cool. Mills happens to have grenades in his briefcase and instructs his daughter, on the phone, to lob a grenade onto a rooftop. By hearing the explosion he is able to pinpoint his location relative to her and has her find him and bring him a gun. After the rescue, Mills promptly proceeds to take his kidnappers down permanently—which is a big chunk of the film.
“Taken 2” surpasses the first in the intensity of the action scenes. Bryan Mills rivals Jason Bourne’s hand-to-hand combat skills and is deadly with a gun.
The bad guys, however, were a bit disappointing. Besides Murad, the main villain, there was never the sense that any of the other bad guys were out for revenge. They seemed too calm around Mills, considering that he killed about a dozen of their comrades and family members. I expected Mills to at least be tortured. An eye for an eye, you know? They did, however, display some impressive martial arts skills to put Mills to the test. If you watch this movie for its action then you will be very satisfied.
The plot, however, is forgettable and simply an excuse to see Liam Neeson do what he does best. It does wrap up neatly with the romantic subplot working out in the end, although there is a moment in the movie in which Mills seems to lay out the plot for a “Taken 3” in a dialogue with Murad right before he kills him. The possibility of a third installment is thankfully open. “Taken 2” is a must-see for fans of “Taken” and of Liam Neeson in general.