While most everyone seemed to love watching Liam Neeson's ex-CIA agent Bryan Mills beat European crooks to a bloody pulp in the Luc Besson-scripted Taken, there seems to be mixed feelings from fans so far as to whether or not making Taken 2 is really a good idea.
Regardless, production on the Taken sequel is set to commence later this month, on location in places like Turkey, France, and the U.S. (in Los Angeles, to be exact). Now, the film (naturally) has found its central villain - not to mention, snagged an official theatrical release date to boot.
Heat Vision has learned that Rade Šerbedžija - who is generally credited as either Rade Sherbedgia or Rade Serbedzija in Hollywood productions - is officially onboard to portray the main antagonist in Taken 2. While you may not recognize his name, Sherbedgia has played supporting roles in many tentpole projects, including: the part of Dr. Nekhorvich in Mission: Impossible II, the "homeless man" in Batman Begins, Gregorovitch in the seventh Harry Potter movie, and the Russian general in X-Men: First Class. The actor's resume of previous roles also includes Dmitri Gredenko on 24 and Boris "The Blade" Yurinov in Snatch.
That's all to say: Sherbedgia is an excellent choice to play the main baddie in Taken 2... especially given the film's storyline, as detailed in the official synopsis below:
Liam Neeson returns as Bryan Mills, the retired CIA agent with a particular set of skills who stopped at nothing to save his daughter Kim (Maggie Grace) from Albanian kidnappers. When the father (Sherbedgia) of one of the kidnappers swears revenge, and takes Bryan and his wife (Famke Janssen) hostage during their family vacation in Istanbul, Bryan enlists Kim to help them escape, and uses the same advanced level of special forces tactics to get his family to safety and systematically take out the kidnappers one by one.
In other words: Grace will get to become more of a capable heroine (and not just the damsel-in-distress) in the Taken sequel. That's arguably a clever angle to take - and a fitting one too, since Besson is not a slacker when it comes to writing badass women (see: the female leads in La Femme Nikita, The Fifth Element, and Colombiana). So long as he and co-scriber Robert Mark Kamen have crafted Taken 2 as a lean and mean thriller on a par with its predecessor, this could be a worthwhile followup after all.
Taken 2 helmer Olivier Megaton is more the wild card here, given that a lot of people would say he's 0-for-2 when it comes to effectively bringing scripts co-penned by Besson and Kamen to life (see: Transporter 3 and Colombiana). We'll just have to wait and see if third time's the charm for Megaton.
20th Century Fox recently slated Taken 2 for an October 5th, 2012 theatrical release in the U.S.