As of this moment, the much-anticipated sequel to Taken is standing at an exceptionally soft 16% on Rotten Tomatoes. With over 50 critics already reporting in, the number is expected to stay low and possibly drift further into sub-par status as first-in reviews often are the most favorable. Having said that, it looks entirely possible that Olivier Megaton has struck out at Luc Besson’s EuropaCorp as this is the third dud in a row from the director who also helmed Transporter 3 (the worst-received in the franchise) and the mediocre Zoe Saldana-led Colombiana.
We do want to acknowledge that reviews are not everything, but they are also a very good precursor to box office performance in terms of week-to-week retention and often foreshadow word of mouth. Translation: A higher RT rating generally means more money, thus its importance. If you want to see the film because you liked the first, just be warned that it might not be nearly as endearing.
The problems with Taken 2 mostly reside in its duplicate plot. Someone is taken, Liam Neeson’s Bryan Mills has to save the day, etc. Ordinarily, this would be fine, but it is done so without a shred of believability to sell the tension of it all. Such a flow tends to generate a sense that you are going from action scene to action scene without much a story to grasp onto.
It should be noted that there is at least one top critic in the film’s corner as Robert Ebert has good things to say about the picture. He seems to agree with the majority in that Liam Neeson does outshine the movie; however, the legendary reviewer also said that theater goers on board with Luc Besson projects can still have an enjoyable time.
If you are still on the fence, I recommend waiting for cinema scores to see how the mainstream public felt on opening weekend. They also tend to vote with their pocket book, so pay attention to the box office gross as well as many analysts project $30+ million. Anything below that would be a disappointment.