There wasn't really anywhere for the story to go after 2008's surprise hit Taken, and this movie quickly proves that. Not only does it have that same appalling moral vacuum at the centre (it doesn't matter how many irrelevant people you torture and kill to rescue your loved one), but the plot becomes increasingly absurd as it progresses. So the only genuine response is weary laughter.
The action picks up shortly after Bryan (Neeson) has recovered from his ordeal in Paris. His daughter Kim (Grace) seems to have forgotten it completely, and soon she and her mother Lenore (Janssen), Bryan's ex, jet off to Istanbul to join him after he finishes a business meeting. But they don't know that the family of the Albanian thugs Bryan killed in France have followed him to Turkey intent on vengeance. They soon grab Bryan and Lenore, so Bryan calls Kim on a secret mobile device and coaches her on how to rescue them. Of course, it gets increasingly messy as the hours tick by.
Perfectly named director Megaton (Colombiana) never bothers to make any sense out of the story, merely charging into each scene with guns blazing and grenades exploding, while suggesting that only unshaven Albanian-looking men get killed in the process. Well, all of them, to be exact. He also delights in presenting shameless stereotypes of Muslims who take their run-down lifestyle with them wherever they go. Meanwhile, the Yanks are efficient and unruffled, speaking in cliched slogans. Neeson sleepwalks through the film, shifting into action mode or hitting the dramatic notes where necessary. Jansson is actually asleep (or unconscious) most of the time. While Grace has the most fun in a series of insane action set-pieces.
Annoyingly, all of this has been choppily edited down so 12-year-olds can see the film. This means that the fight scenes are missing key moments, even though they're still relentlessly violent and grisly. So what we're left with is a bigoted, bloodthirsty, incoherent action movie that's being targeted at kids. And really, children shouldn't be watching this kind of rubbish. Neither should their parents. But it's so slick and brainless that it'll probably be a hit.
Run time: 92 mins
In Theaters: Friday 5th October 2012
Box Office USA: $139.9M
Box Office Worldwide: $363.5M
Distributed by: 20th Century Fox
Production compaines: Canal+, EuropaCorp, M6 Films, Ciné+
Contactmusic.com: 2 / 5
Rotten Tomatoes: 21%
Fresh: 35 Rotten: 128
IMDB: 6.3 / 10
Director: Olivier Megaton
Producer: Luc Besson
Starring: Liam Neeson as Bryan Mills, Maggie Grace as Kim, Famke Janssen as Lenore, Rade Šerbedžija as Murad, Luke Grimes as Jamie, Jon Gries as Casey, Leland Orser as Sam, D.B. Sweeney as Bernie, Kevork Malikyan as Inspector Durmaz, Alain Figlarz as Suko
One of the strongest action thrillers in recent years, this gripping movie cleverly casts actors...
Meryl Streep is having so much fun playing an ageing rocker that the audience only...
Like James Bond, wilfully anonymous driver Frank Martin is reborn as a new actor without...
Like an antidote to vacuous blockbusters, this intelligent, thoughtful drama packs more intensity into a...
This biopic gallops through the career of groundbreaking gangsta rappers N.W.A, working its way through...
Basically the perfect summer movie, this lightweight drama has a great-looking cast and plenty of...
As the ghoul from the 2012 horror hit stalks a new family, this sequel's sharply...
After setting the scene with vivid characters and some insightful interaction, the plot of this...