In nature, lightning occasionally strikes the same place twice. In the movies, it almost never happens.
So as good as Liam Neeson was in “Taken,” as good as he often is in “Taken 2,” the sequel — about the family of all those Albanians he killed in “Taken” taking their revenge — is an often silly movie where the strain to stay credulous shows. Neeson's retired secret agent, Bryan Mills, is being hunted by the few Albanians left after he massacred most of the Albanian mob for kidnapping his daughter Kim (Maggie Grace) the last time around. So what does he do? He invites Kim and ex-wife Lenore (Famke Janssen) along with him on a trip to Istanbul. What could go wrong?
He doesn't know that the Muslim mobster (Rade Serbedzija) has sworn he will have his “justice.” But Bryan is onto them in a flash. Next thing you know, he's giving his wife the same lecture he gave Kim, once upon a time in France: “I need you to FOCUS.”
They're both nabbed. He warns his daughter with one last cellphone call. She too has to “FOCUS.” (Again.) Then, tied up and hooded, they're whisked off somewhere as Brian counts the seconds between turns, the sounds he hears passing, working out where they might be. MacGyver has nothing on this dude.
The villain smacks his lips and makes speeches. In English. The few remaining Albanian mobsters all speak English.
Producer/ co-writer Luc Besson once gave us “The Professional,” a movie about a hit man savant, a “cleaner” (Jean Reno) whose arrival somewhere prompted bad guys to say, “Somebody's coming. Somebody SERIOUS.”