"Taken 2" lives up to the original movie

This image released by 20th Century Fox shows Liam Neeson in a scene from "Taken 2." (AP Photo/20th Century Fox, Magali Bragard)

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Let me start off by saying that you will not leave the theater disappointed. If you were a fan of the original, "Taken 2" offers everything you wanted to see and more. You'll still leave the theater wishing Liam Neeson was your father and that he had your back in a foreign country. In fact, "Taken 2" is even more action-packed than the original. Consider everything you saw in the last 15 minutes of "Taken" and imagine it as a full-length film. 

"Taken 2" picks up a couple of months after the events of the original. Bryan Mills (Liam Neeson) is an ex-CIA field operative who spilled a lot of blood in order to save his daughter. Now, the family and friends of those he killed have come after Mills and his family to seek revenge.

As far as acting goes, Neeson is as cold-blooded and determined as ever. He is the crux of the film, stealing each scene he is given. His character still seems in control of every situation, and you never once doubt he'll do anything to protect his family. Maggie Grace and Famke Janssen play Mills' daughter and ex-wife, respectively, and are much more likable this time around. You really develop a strong bond with them as characters, making the action even more intense when everything goes south. Rade Šerbedžija is absolutely chilling as the main villain and by the end, you'll really love to hate him. 

As I said earlier, this film has a lot of action, and for the most part, it's awesome. There's a very well-developed car chase, and creative fights keep your eyes glued to the screen the entire way through. A gripping scene about halfway through even goes toe-to-toe with the iconic phone scene from the original. Without spoiling it too much, it involves Neeson using MacGyver-esque techniques to contact his daughter for help. The scene had me cheering at the screen. 

Really, the only issue I have with the film is that the camera often had trouble keeping up with the action. This sometimes makes it difficult to tell what exactly is going on. I had the same problem with the original "Taken," as well as other action-heavy flicks like the Bourne trilogy and "The Hunger Games." It is not by any means a deal-breaker. Just a minor complaint.

Minor flaws aside, "Taken 2" succeeds in everything it tries to do. It will leave you wanting more of Liam Neeson, and it doesn't take itself too seriously. The side characters are more likable and the action is just as intense. It does justice to the original film. I give it 4.5 out of 5 and encourage everyone to go see it for themselves. 

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