Direction: Olivier Megaton
Cast: Liam Neeson, Famke Janssen
Ex-CIA agents never give up. They can't, because the past--distant or recent--catches up with them. Incidentally, that plot premise is also convenient for hacking out utterly dismaying sequel flicks like Taken 2, made three years after the original which had its quota of James Bond-ish spills, thrills and slivers of sophistication.
Sorry, but despite the return of Liam Neeson in the part of the beleaguered protagonist, this one's a strict no-no. It is utterly improbable and unintentionally laughable at times. Come to think of it, the screenplay has as much substance as an episode from a by-the-numbers TV series. All the crises which the man of action has to go through have been seen before, in variations and permutations.
Anyway, cut to the Albanian gangster (Rade Sherbedgia) whose son was shot dead in a skirmish not so long ago, it seems. Vengeance is on the bereaved father's mind. Consequence: the former agent (Neeson), his daughter (Maggie Grace) who needs a driving license as well as a steady boyfriend, and his ex-wife (Janssen) are kidnapped. The lady, believe it or not, is hung upside down by the nasties. It's a miracle that she actually survives. Her discomfort is shared by the audience.
The villain and his mean gang try their best or worst to torment and exterminate the entire family. In vain. Because the family always has some gizmo hidden in a sock or a brilliant idea to stay alive, and survive to tell the tale. Hopefully there will be no Part 3. Neeson surely deserves better and could quit slumming in such no-brainers.
The film is highly varnished, shows off exotic Istanbul locations and has been co-written and produced by France's slick maestro Luc Besson. He shouldn't have. This abysmal sequel is as pointless and punishing as it gets.