Liam Neeson’s late-career transformation from Oskar Schindler to Charles Bronson continues with this weekend’s release of Taken 2, in which Neeson’s former CIA operative tries to go on a family vacation to Istanbul and gets kidnapped along with his ex-wife. Not only that, but they’ve been nabbed by relatives of the bad guys Neeson killed in the first movie when his daughter was kidnapped while she was on vacation. Clearly, this family has some awful luck on holiday, and if the sequel’s strong predicted box office showing this weekend is any indication, there may be more to come. Here are a few potential not-so-different directions for the series to go.
Taken 3 – Liam Neeson returns as a man who just wants to take his family on one trip abroad without someone getting kidnapped. This time he takes his wife (they’ve remarried), daughter, and their small cocker spaniel Buttercup to Rio de Janeiro for a week of fun in the sun. But when an international syndicate of dog smugglers snatches Buttercup from their hotel room, it’s up to Neeson to blast his way through the favelas and track down whoever’s responsible. Tagline: “They just stole the wrong man’s best friend.”
Taken 4 a Ride – After a son he never knew he had suddenly appears on his doorstep, Neeson decides he’s taking everyone to Disneyland to celebrate the family’s latest addition. But when the son is abducted by a radical group of Quebec separatists dressed as Disney mascots, it’s up to Neeson to blast his way through the Magic Kingdom and track down whoever’s responsible. Tagline: “The Happiest Place On Earth…to die.”
Taken 5ive - Neeson is hoping to take a nice, quiet trip to Islamabad with his 90-year-old grandmother until his family finally manages to convince him to just stay home already. But when a highly trained faction of the homeowner association interrupts their staycation to kidnap everyone he loves and hide them somewhere else in the house, it’s up to Neeson yet again to blast his way through the living room and track down whoever’s responsible. Tagline: “Home is where the hurt is.”
Of course, Taken 6: Double Take will eventually move the series away from its action thriller roots and toward the comedy genre by casting Neeson as his own twin, who accidentally gets kidnapped in place of his brother. I can’t wait.