In 2011, at the funeral of his son Marko and associates in Tropojë, Albanian mafia head and freelance terrorist Murad Hoxha vows to seek vengeance on his son's killer. Travelling to Paris with his men, he interrogates and tortures former intelligence agent Jean-Claude Pitrel, whose business card was found at the scene of Marko's death, but finds no information. He then bribes a corrupt police official for Pitrel's files and deduces that Pitrel's old friend Bryan Mills was responsible and is in Istanbul.
Meanwhile, Bryan has just finished his three-day security job for a wealthy Arabian sheikh in Istanbul and is surprised by his ex-wife Lenore and daughter Kim. While going out for lunch with Lenore the next day, Bryan spots Murad's men following them. He tells Lenore to run and tries to shake the Albanians, but finally surrenders when they capture Lenore. Realising that Kim is also a target, Bryan calls her at the hotel and tells her to hide, but then he is captured and knocked out. She narrowly avoids capture when the kidnappers are forced to flee after shooting two security guards.
Regaining consciousness, Bryan finds himself zip tied to a pipe over his head in an empty basement. He uses a concealed miniature cell phone hidden in his sock to contact Kim and instruct her to alert the American Embassy; instead she convinces him to let her help. Opening her father's equipment case, Kim takes a grenade and detonates it on a nearby rooftop; the resulting sound allows Bryan to instruct her on triangulating his location.
The mobsters bring in Lenore, cut her throat slightly, and hang her upside down to bleed out. As soon as they leave, Bryan frees himself and then her. He next has Kim detonate two more grenades and releases some steam through a chimney to guide her to his location. Kim tosses a gun down the chimney, which Bryan uses to kill his guards. He rescues Kim, but watches Lenore get recaptured. Stealing a taxi, Bryan and Kim pursue the kidnappers' van, whereupon an SUV, driven by one of the kidnappers' henchmen, arrives to distract them. A chase and shootout ensue, alerting Turkish police and ending when Bryan manages to lure the SUV into the path of an oncoming train, taking it out.
Leaving Kim at the U.S. Embassy, Bryan uses his memory to find Murad's hideout. He rescues Lenore and pursues the surviving mobsters to a bathhouse, where he kills them. Confronting Murad, Bryan offers to let him walk if he agrees to return home and cease his desire for revenge. Murad agrees and Bryan drops his gun, but the former goes back on his word and tries to kill Bryan, only to find the gun unloaded. Realizing that Murad will never drop his vendetta against him, Bryan kills him by impaling him onto a sharp towel hook.
Three weeks later, the Mills family is at a diner back in Los Angeles, having milkshakes to celebrate Kim passing her driving test. They are joined, much to Bryan's surprise, by Kim's boyfriend Jamie, to which she jokingly tells her father not to "shoot this one".
Filming took place throughout early 2012; Neeson and Grace shot their scenes in January in Los Angeles. The Istanbul scenes were shot in November 2011. Some scenes were filmed during a week at the new film studios of the Cité du Cinéma founded by Luc Besson in Saint-Denis in France.
Nathaniel Méchaly composed the score for Taken 2, which was released on 1 October 2012.
All songs written and composed by Nathaniel Méchaly except where noted.
Taken 2 was screened on 7 September 2012 at the 38th Deauville American Film Festival. It was theatrically released in more than 25 international markets, including North America, on 5 October 2012. The film was released under the title of "Busca Implacável 2" in Brazil, "Venganza: Conexión Estambul" in Spain, "Taken - La vendetta" in Italy and "Заложница 2" in Russia.
Taken 2 grossed $139,854,287 in North America and $236,287,019 in other territories, which brings the film's worldwide total to $376,141,306 against a budget of $45 million.
For its opening day in the North America, the film topped the box office and earned $18.4 million, $1.5 million of which came from midnight showings. In its opening weekend, Taken 2 grossed $49.5 million in North America, playing in 3,661 theaters, with a $13,525 per-theatre average and debuting in the No. 1 spot, setting a new record for the highest-ever October opening in North America of a film rated PG-13, and earned about $55 million in other markets. During its second weekend at the North American box office, the film dropped 55.8% from its first weekend and grossed $21.9 million while holding onto the No. 1 spot. The film grossed a total of $3,385,094 in the Philippines by its fifth week. The biggest market in foreign market in other territories being UK, France, Australia and South Korea where the film grossed $37.8 million, $24.4 million, $20.2 million and $15.5 million.
On Rotten Tomatoes, the film holds an approval rating of 21% based on 163 reviews and an average rating of 4.2/10. The site's consensus reads: "Taken 2 is largely bereft of the kinetic thrills—and surprises—that made the original a hit." On Metacritic, the film has a score of 45 out of 100, based on 35 critics, indicating "mixed or average reviews".
Roger Ebert, of the Chicago Sun-Times, gave the film 3 stars out of 4, writing, "Taken 2 is slick, professional action" and concluding, "The cast is uniformly capable and dead serious, and if you're buying what [co-writer and producer] Luc Besson is selling, he's not short-changing you." Kenneth Turan of the Los Angeles Times wrpte, "At a beefy 6-foot-4, Liam Neeson certainly looks physically imposing, but it was the notion of casting someone who can actually act in an action hero role that was the counter-intuitive concept that made both films—Taken 2 is more a remake than a sequel—so successful." Bernard Besserglik of The Hollywood Reporter reviewed the film after its screening at Deauville, concluding, "There's a touch of vigilante advocacy in the movie that will displease some, with Liam Neeson as a more gentlemanly version of the Charles Bronson of the Death Wish series, but clearly there's still a market for such fantasies. Moviegoers who liked Taken and want more of the same will get precisely that."
John Anderson of The Wall Street Journal wrote that there is a "blind adherence to formula evident in most of Taken 2. As they might say in the advertising department, it's an adrenaline-fuelled thrill ride. But it could have been much more." Lisa Schwarzbaum of Entertainment Weekly gave the film a C grade, writing, "You know what happens in Taken 2, don't you? The same thing that happened four years ago in Taken, but different. (But the same.)" and that Taken 2 "is simultaneously silly, nasty, a lazy festival of stereotypes, and a cleverly made piece of merchandise—i.e., it's the devil we know." Neil Genzlinger of The New York Times wrpte that much of Taken 2 "seems like a nonstop car and foot chase, with Albanian after Albanian falling victim to Bryan's remarkable aim and hand-fighting skills. Foreigners bad, Americans good, box office busy."
Keith Phipps of The A.V. Club gave the film a C grade, writing, "What begins as a family outing, with a hint of rekindled romance between the parents, devolves into kidnapping (the word 'taken' gets thrown about liberally), torture, high-speed chases, and other misadventures probably not smiled upon by the Turkish Board of Tourism. None of it is particularly novel or exciting." Scott Bowles of USA Today gave the film 2 1/2 stars out of 4, writing, "The first half of Taken 2 is a serviceable action flick, but the second half descends into cliches" and "[a]t times, Taken 2 even steps from the shadows of the original with some terrifying imagery and an improved relationship between father and daughter. Alas, the movie can't help but descend into a pat part two, bereft of much suspense or tension." Peter Bradshaw of The Guardian gave the film 2 stars out of 5, concluding, "In the first movie, from the tailend of the Bush era, Liam was not shy about using Jack Bauerish torture techniques, wiring up evil-doers to the mains and zapping them with righteous volts. None of that now. That was a 15; this is a 12A, a bit tamer, just as ridiculous, but the premise is looking pretty tired."
Joe Neumaier of the Daily News also gave the film 2 stars out of 5, writing, "Taken 2 has a plot that could have been written by a GPS program, and contains all the technical charm that conjures up. Yet somehow, Liam Neeson growls through this just-acceptable action sequel with his dignity intact, his wallet bigger and his movie family oblivious to all that occurred in 2009's Taken." Neil Smith of Total Film gave the film 2 stars out of 5, concluding, "Yet while it's fun to watch him take out the Eurotrash, we've seen him do it better." Ann Hornaday of The Washington Post gave the film 1 star out of 4, writing, "You can't blame Liam Neeson, or the Taken producers, for trying to catch lightning in a bottle again. What you can blame them for is Taken 2, a sequel every bit as clumsy, ham-handed, outlandish and laughable as the original was sleek, tough and efficient."
Audiences polled by the market research firm CinemaScore gave the film a B+ grade on average.
Taken 2 was released on DVD and Blu-ray on 16 January 2013. The Blu-ray version was released with both the theatrical and unrated extended edition. As of 5 February 2015, the film has sold 2,823,133 DVDs and 1,053,690 Blu-ray Discs and grossing $44,136,725 and $19,915,776 respectively totaling $64,052,501 in North America.
Principal photography for Taken 3 began on 29 March 2014, and was released on 9 January 2015.