“What are you going to do?” gasps Maggie Grace’s Kim at one point of Taken 2.

“What I do best” snarls Liam Neeson’s Bryan Mills in reply, before proceeding to punch, kick, shoot and stab his way through an army of Albanian goons on the streets of Istanbul.

And that, ladies and gentleman, is about all you need to know about Taken 2, a movie that takes the adage ‘if it ain’t broke don’t fix it’ to the absolute cinematic limit.

Essentially a rehash of the first movie, the prospects for its success are quite simple – if you liked the first you will enjoy this, and if you didn’t – well then…..you won’t.

The plot, such that there is, wouldn’t have looked out of place on the straight-to-video shelves of an 80s rental store.

The father of one of the hoods that Mills wiped out in the first movie wants revenge, rounds up an army of heavies and sets about plotting the kidnap of Mills, his wife Lenore (Famke Janssen) and daughter Kim (Grace).

In fact the whole thing would appear totally laughable, were it not for the straight-faced approach taken by all, along with the sheen of a big-budget finish elevating the end product.

The film is certainly enjoyable, and the sight of Neeson laying waste to a gaggle of bad guys is always entertaining.

Grace also steps up to the plate this time with an extended role and a dollop of action herself, including a thrilling car chase through cobbled streets that has echoes of Bourne material.

But a lot of the action has that ‘fast cut’ feel to it, leading to some confusion and the feeling that you are being cheated somewhat on the bonecrunching scale.

That may be down to the bid for a more audience-friendly certificate, as some of the more brutal scenes certainly appear to have been trimmed.

There is also the strange decision to include not one, but two pieces of music directly lifted from the soundtrack of Drive, which the audience I was with certainly noticed.

Neeson is fine, and indeed does do what he does best, and Rade Serbedzija makes a useful villain.

But while the whole thing is entertaining enough, it lacks that emotional gut punch that the people trafficking and prostitution angle lent to the first flick.

Taken 2 has none of that, and ends up simply being a generic, if enjoyable, action romp.

About The Author

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Simon is a journalism tutor in London, who also just happens to be a movie fanatic, with a craving for the darker side of cinema. He has written three books - on the horror films of director Bob Clark (2014), the history of the character Norman Bates (2015) and the work of British exploitation director Pete Walker (2017). He is currently working with director Richard Loncraine to explore all avenues in a bid to orchestrate the re-release of 1978 Mia Farrow chiller Full Circle