Taken 2 movie review: Kidnapped again!

Oct 5, 2012 at 9:00 a.m. ET

Liam Neeson is back as a bad-a** ex-CIA agent in this fast-paced action thriller. However, this time he’s been kidnapped, and his slacker teen daughter — who can't even pass her driver's test — is the only one who can save him. Can this coddled kid successfully use cutting-edge technology, a few hand grenades and good old-fashioned math to save her dad?

Taken 2

Kim (Maggie Grace) is 16 and in love. When she shirks a driving lesson with her dad, Bryan Mills (Liam Neeson), for a make-out session with hottie boy toy Jamie (Luke Grimes), Bryan quickly finds Kim using the secret GPS he had installed on her cell phone.

You'd think that after having been kidnapped by sex traffickers in the first movie, Kim would appreciate her father's overprotective nature, but she's just as annoyed by her dad as any teen wanting to establish her independence. There's also a bit of rivalry between Bryan and Jamie, as Jamie is taking over as Kim's new favorite male. But part of being independent is learning how to drive, and Kim needs her dad's help, considering she failed her recent test in her mom's Escalade.

And Kim’s mom isn’t doing so well these days, either. Lenore (Famke Janssen) tearfully tells Bryan that she's getting divorced from her latest husband, rekindling Bryan's love for her. Wanting to reconnect, Bryan invites his ex-wife and daughter to join him in Istanbul after he's finished a job guarding a sheikh.

What Bryan doesn't know is that the Albanian father of the man Bryan killed in the last movie has arrived in Turkey with a hit squad, vowing to take revenge on Bryan for killing his son.

Taken 2

Playing matchmaker for her parents, Kim opts to stay at the hotel while Bryan and Lenore go out for a romantic lunch at the bazaar. Soon, Bryan and Lenore are kidnapped and in chains, awaiting their torture and death at the hands of the vengeful Murad Krasniqi (Rade Serbedzija).

Using a tiny, nearly postage-stamp-sized secret cell phone, Bryan is able to reach his daughter and has her set off hand grenades around Istanbul. By counting the seconds between the boom he hears through the phone and the boom he hears from outside, he's able to determine how far away she is from him. Soon, she locates her dad, but the killers are right on her trail.

The action in Taken 2 is fast and furious, with some of the best car chases and crashes I've seen in a while. The sound of the glass shattering and metal bending made the hair on my neck stand up.

Taken 2

The thing that bothered me about the movie, however, was how helpless Bryan's ex-wife and daughter seemed to be. The fact that this franchise is based on the same women needing rescuing again and again seems a bit stale. The dopey milkshake ending bugged me too.

Bottom line: If you enjoyed the first Taken, you'll most likely enjoy its sequel, but don't expect any surprising twists or turns.

Photo credit: 20th Century Fox