Being taken with 'Taken 2'
Liam Neeson out-Bonds James Bond in "Taken 2."
You don't have to have seen "Taken" (2008). Here, Neeson, reprising his role a CIA spy operative Bryan Mills, must rescue his wife, Lenore (Famke Janssen), and prevent his daughter, Kim (Maggie Grace), from being taken hostage by Eastern European terrorists intent on revenging their losses depicted in the first movie. At the center of the terrorist group is a father whose son, a kidnapper, was killed by Mills.
It's "like father like daughter" as Mills' daughter Kim, with cell-phone coaching from her father, proves an adept spy girl, helping to locate her father and fight the terrorists.
"Taken 2" is filled with bristling, gripping, adrenaline-pumping car chases through narrow street-cart filled streets of Istanbul, Turkey; red-tile rooftop foot chases, face-to-face, hand-to-hand combat and shooting, and intensely brutal one-on-one interrogations.
"Taken 2" fills in the action with well-developed scenes between Bryan, his wife, Lenore, and daughter, Kim. The character development adds to our caring about them when their lives are jeopardized just about every other minute in "Taken 2."
"Taken 2" is directed with slick but gritty determination by Olivier Megaton ("Colombiana," "Transporter 3"), based on a by-the-book action-thriller screenplay by Luc Besson, who co-wrote the first "Taken" and is best-known as director of "La Femme Nikita," and Robert Mark Kamen, who co-wrote "Taken" and the "Transporter" series.
Don't be surprised if you're taken with "Taken 2."
"Taken 2," MPAA Rated PG-13 (Parents Strongly Cautioned. Some material may be inappropriate for children under 13) for intense sequences of violence and action, and some sensuality; Genre: Action, Crime, Drama; Run time: 1 hr., 31 min.; Distributed by 20th Century Fox.
Box Office, Oct. 12: "Taken 2" made it two in a row at No. 1, $22.5 million, $86.7 million, two weeks, keeping "Argo" opening at No. 2, $20.1 million, and "Sinister" opening at No. 3, $18.2 million;
4. "Hotel Transylvania," $17.3 million, $102.1 million, three weeks; 5. "Here Comes the Boom," $12 million, opening; 6. "Pitch Perfect," $9.3 million, $36 million, three weeks; 7. "Frankenweenie," $7 million, $22 million, two weeks; 8. "Looper," $6.3 million, $51.4 million, three weeks; 9. "Seven Psychopaths," $4.2 million, opening; 10. "The Perks of Being a Wallflower," $2.1 million, $6.1 million, four weeks
Unreel, Oct. 19
"Alex Cross," PG-13: A detective tracks the alleged killer of a family member in the crime-thriller that stars Tyler Perry, Mathew Fox, Rachel Nichols and Edward Burns.
"Paranormal Activity 4," R: Katie Featherston, Kathryn Newton, Matt Shively and Brady Allen star in the horror film about more weird events in the neighborhood after a mother and child move in.
"The Sessions," R: There's Oscar nominee buzz for John Hawkes and Helen Hunt in the drama about a person with a disability, a therapist and a priest (William H. Macy).
Read previous movie reviews by Paul Willistein at the Times-News web site, tnonline.com, and hear them on "Lehigh Valley Art Salon," 6 - 6:30 p.m. Mondays, Lehigh Valley Community Public Radio WDIY 88.1 FM, wdiy.org. Email Paul Willistein pwillistein@ tnonline.com and on Facebook.