I really don’t have an answer when it comes to why I have never started watching the Taken films up until this point, because I really wish I had sooner. Especially since I myself am a big fan of Liam Neeson. It might have been that I was expecting another one of those films where it was non-stop action and there was no room for the protagonist to fail. I was also worried that by watching it, it would seem like it was over-hyped, another film that everyone seemed to love for no apparent reason. Every clip I watched didn’t seem intriguing, and even the famous line “I will find you, and I will kill you” seemed like an over-dramatization. This might be the reason I didn’t feel compelled to watch the movie initially.
It wasn’t until I found the Blu-ray version in my parents house that I decided to give the movie a go. It may not have called out to me to run out and buy it myself, but I’m not one to pass up an opportunity when it basically jumps out at me.
WARNING: the following may contain SPOILERS
Taken was one of those films that caught me off guard. I was NOT expecting how captivating the movie was going to be. By the time that Kim (as played by Maggie Grace) had disappeared, I was set on the edge of my seat. Every moment was invigorating, a constant reason for me not to leave my seat.
And even though Bryan Mills (as played by Liam Neeson) kicked some serious butt the entire movie, the action didn’t feel forced or “too easy” (which, believe me, there are quite a few films out there that are seriously dull due to how the protagonist seems to have “lucky chances”). It was perfect in every way – the acting was brilliant, the characters felt real. It felt like it shouldn’t have ended, even though the happy ending wasn’t something to cry about.
When the film ended, I just HAD to see more! So what did I do? I put in Taken 2 and continued, this time even more excited as to what might happen. Sure, the idea of the film is dark and not what people would want occur in every day life, but it was the perfect kind of escapism – the kind that makes you rethink your life and realize the good things in your life (and at least that you are not going through what these people are!)
Taken 2 was almost as good as the first, although it didn’t feel quite as captivating. I definitely liked the twist of the story-line, as it helped give something new rather than repeat what had happened in the first film (daughter gets kidnapped, she gets rescued, oh! She’s kidnapped again, and…. rescued again – boring!). It also added a new element of vulnerability to Bryan Mills.
However, this film enraged me even more than the first- due to the reasoning and rationalizations of the antagonists – “You killed my son! Now I have to take revenge”… uhhh…. didn’t your son kidnap the guy’s daughter and tried killing him when he went to rescue her? And you think you have the moral high ground? Okay… ’cause being involved in the sex trade is so much righteous than living a normal, happy life with your family. Makes sense.
The part that amazed me the most with this film was the way Bryan was able to figure out where to go – like getting Kim to throw a grenade out the window so he could HEAR how far away he is? That’s, well… pretty darn awesome.
The reasoning as to why the first film was better in my books was nothing to do with action or story – since they both brought outstanding material to the table in those categories – but rather with the empathy factor. In the first one, my heart was wrenched time and time again as Bryan fought to rescue his daughter – who clearly wasn’t capable of fighting back. With Taken 2, when Bryan and Lenore get kidnapped this time around, I didn’t feel quite as much empathy as the first time – this was because it was Bryan who got kidnapped. He clearly made it obvious from the first film that he was capable of overcoming whatever was in his way – even if it meant a bit of time and blood on his part – so it didn’t play on the emotions as much as the first movie – just the adrenaline and suspense.
These films are a perfect reason that I shouldn’t rely on what I assume or what others have told me to watch, but rather to give everything a chance – even if I regret it in the long run. Thankfully, however, this was one of those times that worked out for the better. Now all I have to do is wait for Taken 3.
I’d give it about an 8 out of 10.