Taken

"Weak"

Taken Review


Of all the men you would expect to tear through Europe to save his daughter, leaving a trail of dead like Jonestown in his wake, Liam Neeson would be relatively low on the list, coming in somewhere between Chevy Chase and Zero Mostel. Neeson has always been known for playing men of impassioned rhetoric, guys whose tongues are more powerful than their physical prowess. So, watching the man who played Alfred Kinsey, Jean Valjean, and Michael Collins take two large nails and slam them into a another man's thighs before connecting jumper cables to said nails might leave a viewer understandably flabbergasted.

This is just one of the actions taken by Bryan Mills (Neeson) when he receives a call from his daughter (Maggie Grace) as she is being kidnapped by Albanian sex-traffickers while on vacation in France. An ex-CIA man, Mills uses a few decades worth of weapons knowledge, intelligence training, and fighting styles to basically purge France of any and all Albanian abducters to find his sugarplum and return her to the loving arms of his ex-wife (Famke Janssen) and her absurdly rich second husband (Xander Berkeley).

There is a small preamble to the action involving Mills 'distrust of his only daughter being able to handle going abroad and some risible nonsense about Mills saving a pop star's life, both of which approach insufferable. The same could be said of the film's concluding scenes, which follow a climactic battle on a Parisian yacht. But director Pierre Morel, who directed the likewise action-toned District B13, hits the accelerator early and doesn't give it much of a rest through the films 94-minute runtime.

Morel's smartest decision would be placing most of the action, and the success of the film, on the shoulders of Neeson, who makes a startlingly convincing action hero, bringing a domineering stoicism and a rattling charm to Mills. While the film purposefully never gives us a real arch-nemesis besides, possibly, the entire nation of Albania, the director stays firmly focused on Mills as the hero. He gives Neeson some genuine moments to play-up a scene or two, especially in the film's most tense sequence when Mills tortures the wife of an old friend whom he outs as a traitor supplying information to the Albanians.

Written by French action auteur Luc Besson and Robert Mark Kamen, the ingénue behind the Transporter franchise, Taken is steadier and more streamlined than Kamen's box office juggernaut but it misses its mark in the realm of physicality. No matter how much fun it is to watch Neeson dispose of four dozen or so European scumsicles, it never quite hits the visceral and marketable fighting aerobatics that come naturally to an action star like Jason Statham. The action is engaging but rarely exciting; the drama heftier but still far from convincing. I blame Albania.

Don't open it, it's Gwyneth Paltrow's head!



Taken

Facts and Figures

Run time: 93 mins

In Theaters: Friday 30th January 2009

Box Office USA: $144.9M

Box Office Worldwide: $226.8M

Budget: $25M

Distributed by: 20th Century Fox

Production compaines: EuropaCorp, M6 Films, Grive Productions, Canal+, TPS Star, Wintergreen Productions, All Pictures Media

Reviews

Contactmusic.com: 2.5 / 5

Rotten Tomatoes: 58%
Fresh: 98 Rotten: 70

IMDB: 7.9 / 10

Cast & Crew

Director: Pierre Morel

Producer: , Pierre-Ange Le Pogam, India Osborne

Starring: as Bryan, as Lenore, as Kim, as Amanda, as La chanteuse, as Stuart, as Jean-Claude, as Sam, as Casey, Camille Japy as Isabelle, as Bernie, Goran Kostić as Gregor, Radivoje Bukvić as Anton, Nicolas Giraud as Peter, as Saint-Clair, Arben Bajraktaraj as Marko, Jalil Naciri as Ali


Contactmusic


Links



Advertisement

New Movies

45 Years Movie Review

45 Years Movie Review

Like an antidote to vacuous blockbusters, this intelligent, thoughtful drama packs more intensity into a...

Straight Outta Compton Movie Review

Straight Outta Compton Movie Review

This biopic gallops through the career of groundbreaking gangsta rappers N.W.A, working its way through...

We Are Your Friends Movie Review

We Are Your Friends Movie Review

Basically the perfect summer movie, this lightweight drama has a great-looking cast and plenty of...

Sinister 2 Movie Review

Sinister 2 Movie Review

As the ghoul from the 2012 horror hit stalks a new family, this sequel's sharply...

Advertisement
Paper Towns Movie Review

Paper Towns Movie Review

After setting the scene with vivid characters and some insightful interaction, the plot of this...

Vacation Movie Review

Vacation Movie Review

Both the characters and the tone have been updated as a new generation of Grizwolds...

Trainwreck Movie Review

Trainwreck Movie Review

Amy Schumer makes her big screen debut with a script that feels like a much-extended...

The Man From U.N.C.L.E. Movie Review

The Man From U.N.C.L.E. Movie Review

Adopting a deliciously groovy vibe, Guy Ritchie turns the iconic 1960s TV spy series into...

Advertisement