|STARRING:||Liam Neeson, Maggie Grace|
|WRITER(S):||Robert Mark Kamen, Luc Besson|
|STUDIO:||20th Century Fox|
|RELEASED:||January 30, 2009|
|MPAA RATING:||PG-13 for intense sequences of violence, disturbing thematic material, sexual content, some drug references and language|
“I don’t know who you are. I don’t know what you want. If you are looking for ransom, I can tell you I don’t have money. But what I do have are a very particular set of skills; skills I have acquired over a very long career. Skills that make me a nightmare for people like you. If you let my daughter go now, that’ll be the end of it. I will not look for you, I will not pursue you. But if you don’t, I will look for you, I will find you, and I will kill you.”
To say I enjoyed this movie would be a massive understatement, as there were parts near the end when ‘Taken’ was building to such an impressive and magnificent crescendo of badassedness (yeah I made that word up, so what?) that I felt compelled to climb onto my roof, beat proudly on my chest and scream out “LIIIIIIIAAAAAM” as loud as I could to proclaim my raging man love to all my (probably sleeping) neighbors.
This is the kind of movie they used to make when people like Lee Marvin and Charles Bronson were still around and you could see either of them in this role doing a marvelous job and having a smashing good time to boot. As a simple action flick this movie under-promises and then over-delivers.
It gets off to a ho-hum beginning establishing the little necessary plot details about Liam Neeson, who plays Bryan Mills, a semi retired CIA agent who still has connections where it matters and plays cards in the back yard with his other former covert op buddies while taking the occasional odd job protecting starlets and whatnot.
His daughter Kim, who is as you probably know by now the kidnappee in this movie, and finally Liam’s ex-wife and her new mega rich husband with whom his daughter currently resides. Low and behold one day, against the better judgement of her paranoid (or as he would say, ‘aware’) father, Kim and one of her girlfriends board a plane to Paris, only to eventually get grabbed up by a gang of ruthless ruffians intent on selling them as sex slaves to perverted geriatric aristocrats and other human swine. So back home, what’s a dad to do when confronted with news like this? Hop the next plane to Frog Land and start whooping some major Beret Wearing ass that’s what!
One thing that limits the movie though is the bad guys here, which are played up big time in the advertising for this movie as some real scary dudes, but during the actual movie they get eliminated so quickly and effectively by Liam that you almost begin to feel sorry for them at certain points.
These guys are Grade A graduates from the inept goon school of action movies for sure. Never at any single point do you truly feel even the least bit nervous about the fate of the ‘hero’ here. He’s simply a super human ass kicking machine that gets to torture, maim, and kill every single scumbag in Paris, France that’s even semi related to his daughter’s kidnapping.
This is where the casting of Liam Neeson helps big time. When playing a role like this it would have been incredibly easy to make this character an emotionless stone faced terminator that you would feel nothing for, but Liam keeps his character grounded to a level where you can still sympathize with him, even when he does a few things (which I’ll try not to spoil) which are undoubtedly way out of the spectrum of your normal movie hero’s (or even anti hero’s) rule book.
Neeson’s character is in many ways equal parts Jason Bourne and Jack Bauer in that he can dispense pain upon an enemy as fast as you can blink your eye, and when it comes right down to the nitty gritty of it, he’s every bit the nasty S.O.B that the bad guys are and then some and he proves it here time and time again.
That’s really the main gist of it really. I have no deep thoughts upon any of these characters.
The teenage daughter here isn’t really all that appealing as a character, as she is made out to be your typical spoiled brat.
The ex-wife character is a major league gold digging beeyatch to the extreme and I (subconsciously) was hoping she would get popped somewhere along the way in this flick.
Everyone for the most part is pretty much just your average stock action movie clichés. Now as to the question of whether you will like this movie as much as I did; that I feel depends a lot on your stance on movies of this particular genre.
If you’re a fan of the old school Dirty Harry or Death Wish vigilante movies and feel right at home with a bucket of pop corn watching loads of baddies getting’ their just desserts, then I have no doubt you will eat this movie up from the get go. If however, you are a person of refined and classical tastes who would look down your nose upon such base entertainment, might I recommend you go and see something more becoming your sensitive palate, like Adam Sandler’s Bedtime Stories perhaps?
In any event, if you like well made action movies, you will dig this. It’s far from the level of any of the aforementioned Bourne films, or even some of the better episodes of 24 I imagine, but for what the movie tries to accomplish, it does so successfully and then some.
PS, how this movie got a PG-13 rating is beyond me. Don’t let it scare you away from it though as it is every bit the violent juggernaut you would expect it to be, if not quite as graphic as some in the ‘gore’ department.