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REVIEW: 'Taken 2'

REVIEW: 'Taken 2'

REVIEW: 'Taken 2', Flicks.co.nz

3 stars

Liam Neeson and his particular set of CIA skills return in this sequel to 2008’s action-thriller. Producer and co-writer Luc Besson (The Fifth Element, Transporter) also returns. In Cinemas October 11.

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2008’s Taken was an unmitigated surprise, bypassing the simplicity of its generic premise by introducing audiences to a sympathetic action star that contrasted with your Stathams and Stallones. This sequel doesn’t have the element of surprise on its side, but still boasts 'a particular set of skills'.

The sequel flips the script by putting Bryan Mills (Neeson) in the hostage chair next to his ex-wife (played by the ever-alluring Famke Janssen), leaving their daughter Kim to break them out. However, the film always keeps Liam Neeson in the driver’s seat - even when Kim’s driving the car during one of the more entertaining car chases I’ve seen all year (if only because of Neeson constantly yelling “Keep going! Faster Kim!”).

New director Olivier Megaton maintains the same energy and enthusiasm of the first, but his poor handling of the action scenes longs for Pierre Morel’s touch. The fights are a jumbled mess of jump-cuts and shaky camera work, masking any sense of choreography. Luckily, returning screenwriters Luc Besson and Robert Mark Kamen litter the film with clever scenarios that depend on Bryan’s tactical genius. It’s an indescribable joy seeing Kim throw grenades all over Istanbul while Bryan judges his location via the explosions’ sound delays.

Taken 2 isn’t as good as the first, but it still delivers what the fans want to see: Liam Neeson being a total badass. I look forward to the inevitable Taken 3D.

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