Taken the First Time
The first Taken movie introduced Bryan's estranged daughter Kim as the first abductee. She went on a trip to Paris with her friend Amanda, with plans of following the band U2's European tour. Initially, Bryan is portrayed as a paranoid father, trying but failing to form a better relationship with his daughter.
Unfortunately his fears are confirmed when the girls are fooled into revealing where they are staying and the kidnapping ensues. Being a retired CIA operative, Mills uses his old contacts to obtain information regarding the kidnappers. It is revealed that the girls have fallen victim to an Albanian human trafficking ring that has been targeting young female tourists.
Due to the group's modus operandi, Bryan Mills knows he has only ninety-six hours until all traces of his daughter's whereabouts disappear. An action-packed rescue ensues, with Bryan Mills' relentlessly pursuing those who are responsible for his daughter's kidnapping. In the end, Bryan is successful is saving his daughter. Kim gets reunited with her mother and stepfather.
Taken Once Again
While the first movie's plot is straightforward, it was thanks to Liam Neeson's acting that the character-driven action movie thrived. With such a high standard to live up to, how does Taken 2 compare to its predecessor?
The first scene introduces the family of the criminals Bryan Mills killed. As they gather in front of the graves of their dead, Marko's father Murad declares their intent to punish the man responsible for killing their loved ones. Meanwhile, Bryan visits the home of his ex-wife Lenore to help Kim finally pass her driving exam. A running theme from the first movie, Kim is still off doing what she wants instead of what she needs to do. Bryan is upset upon learning about his daughter having a boyfriend and keeping it from him. Apparently, Bryan has installed GPS on his daughter's phone and so he is able to track her down. They talk about this during the ride home and Kim requests some normalcy after the events in Europe.
It is revealed that Lenore and her husband are having marital problems. Due to Stuart cancelling their travel plans, Kim and her mother take the opportunity to join Bryan in Istanbul. Barely having a moment's rest, Murad's men go after Bryan and Lenore. Lenore held at gunpoint, Bryan is forced to surrender and they are both taken captive. With but a few concealed gadgets at his disposal, Bryan is able to warn Kim who is still at the hotel.
She escapes and is told by her father to head to the US Embassy to report what happened. Fearing for her parents' life she stays on the line and pleads with Bryan to let her help them. He instructs her to gather items from his weapons suitcase and to to assist him in saving Lenore. Kim is told to throw a grenade and based on the sound, Bryan is able to deduce their location. The father and daughter work together to escape from the men who are after them. Bryan leaves Kim in the safety of the US Embassy and he goes after Lenore who has been moved to a different location.
During the final confrontation, Murad mentions that he still has two sons remaining and that they will undoubtedly avenge his death if Bryan takes his life. The two men agree to a truce and Bryan turns walks away. Murad attempts to shoot Bryan with the latter's gun, but Bryan left nothing to chance and has emptied the magazine prior to the encounter. Recognizing Murad's obsession with his vendetta, Bryan kills him. With the attack against his family finally put under control, he saves Lenore. A few weeks after, the three meet up at a diner for a celebration. Lenore and Kim formally introduce Jamie, Kim's boyfriend to her father. All well and they are safe, at least for now.
The First Two Times…
Taken 2 may have less of Taken's steady stream of action scenes, it does have plenty of psychological drama, giving an edge of your seat feel on moments where the Mills family barely escapes intact. The personal motivations of each character were made clear in the film, which is much appreciated in any action movie. Moments of quiet horror coupled with short bursts of flashy elements make for a dizzying, yet intriguing combination. Though it works, Taken 2 was by no means perfect. A few action scenes, such as the hand to hand combat towards the end of the movie, felt forced in. And seeing Bryan Mills alternating between a caring, unsure father and a calculating one man army is a tad disjointed at times.
Why Do They Keep Grabbing People?
What could possibly lie in store for the Mills family in Taken 3? Well according to Taken franchise producer Robert Mark Kamen, they have "taken everyone" that they can possibly take. That hints that the third movie is going in a whole new direction as compared to its predecessors. If not for the amazing reception of Taken 2, there may have not been a third movie, making it unlikely that Murad's statement about his surviving sons was more than an open-ended idea.
Regardless, Taken 3 may yet bring parallel elements from the first two movies into play. Will Bryan make it his personal mission to end the Albanian crime lord's legacy? With his family at a safe distance, there will be more room for a relentless pursuit of his targets. He may yet turn the tables on those who have caused his family to go through so much by capturing criminals for his former employer, the CIA. Or perhaps the movie will be about Kim, following in her father's footsteps. It makes sense to see her develop into a CIA agent just like her father, judging from how much her character grew in the past two movies. Due to the fact that her boyfriend was introduced, he could be a liability or even her motivation to step into her father's shoes. Whichever it is, Luc Besson's quality work has a certain flavor. And chances are if you liked Taken and its continuation, you will like the third film.