OK, look, there's no secret here. "Taken 2" is pretty much the exact same formula as its namesake.
Bad guys kidnap and threaten people close to Liam Neeson's character, Bryan Mills, an ex-black ops guy, and he responds by invoking his "special set of skills" to "do what he does best." Insert the sounds of bone snapping, weapons firing and screams from Albanian mobsters.
If you're looking for anything more than this, you're out of luck and certainly in the wrong movie theater.
Mills is trying to remain close to his daughter, Kim (Maggie Grace), whom he saved from abduction and sale on the sex trafficking market, and maintain an amicable relationship with his ex-wife Lenore (Famke Janssen).
Mills is unaware of the fact that thousands of miles away in Albania a group of mafia types, led by Murad Hoxha (Rade Serbedzija), are seeking to make him pay for the deaths of their family members at his hands in the original film. Hoxha's son and his buddies were responsible for the kidnapping and solicitation of Mills' daughter, and he dispatched of them brutally (just in case you missed the orignal movie)
Now a security expert, Mills completes an assignment for a wealthy shiek in Istanbul, and brings Kim and Lenore for a stay. Using inside intel, Moxha's people move in on the family. Kim is able to escape, but Mills and Lenore are taken by the baddies. They plan on keeping Mills alive long enough to watch his family suffer before they kill him.
What nobody on the bad side ever anticipates - and much to their dismay - is Mills' ability to escape any situtation and win every un-winnable battle. He's Liam Neeson, that's what he does.
It's mindless fun. The action sequences provide the suspense and excitement you're looking for, the fights are well choreographed, and you will wonder how he's going to pull off his next effort, knowing all the while he's going to do it. Sure, his chances for success are slim to none, but hey, it's his action movie. You know how it's going to end: Mills, happy ending; criminal element, painful death. And you know what? I'm good with that.
Randy's Rating: On a scale of 5 popcorn buckets, and keeping in mind the nature of "Taken 2's" intended audience, I give this film 3 popcorn buckets. Make sure your corn is buttery and slick; it's going to have to slip out of some difficult situations. Running time: 91 minutes. MPAA rating is PG-13. This film was reviewed at Southpark 7 in Spencer.