Old and bloody but unbowed
YOU'RE never too old in Hollywood for a big screen renaissance. John Travolta's 40th birthday was very happy indeed – he celebrated an Oscar nomination for Pulp Fiction.
At the tender age of 56, striking Irish actor Liam Neeson unexpectedly reinvigorated his career as a tough-taking action man in the testosterone-fuelled thriller Taken.
The film, directed by Pierre Morel, gained a cult following for its wanton brutality, outrageous set pieces and the unstinting determination of the lead character.
The old man with the fists of fury returns in Taken 2, which dispatches the same characters to Istanbul for another explosive game of cat and mouse. Olivier Megaton sits in the director's chair for the sequel and he delivers more slam-bang thrills than the first instalment.
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Bryan (Neeson) continues to be protective of his daughter Kim (Maggie Grace), who he rescued from Albanian kidnappers and returned home safely to her mother Lenore (Famke Janssen).
He's less than thrilled to discover Kim has a boyfriend (Luke Grimes) but promises Lenore that he won't run a background check.
When Lenore's current partner storms out, Bryan suggests his ex-wife and daughter join him in Turkey. Little does he realise that Murad (Rade Serbedzija), the father of one of the Albanian brutes he killed in the first film, has amassed a small army to abduct and torture the family.
Taken 2 is a blast that doesn't take itself seriously, Neeson growling his lines with menace, physically suffering for his art as he is beaten to a bloody pulp while protecting his loved ones.