Taken


Directed by: Pierre Morel
Written by:Luc Besson, Robert Mark Kamen
Starring: Liam Neeson, Maggie Grace, Famke Janssen, Xander Berkeley, Katie Cassidy
Released: August 14, 2008
Grade: C+

There’s no justice like vigilante justice.  I guess that went through the minds of those people behind this film.  Taken is a ludicrous action-thriller about a guy who kills just about everyone in pursuit of his kidnapped daughter.  Hmmm, the things we do for family…

Bryan Mills (Neeson) is our central figure.  He’s divorced and he lives alone.  He also seems to be very paranoid.  When his 17-year-old daughter (Grace) tells him that she’s going with a friend to France for a holiday, Bryan freaks out.  He doesn’t think she’s old enough to be travelling overseas.  The world is not a safe place.

It turns out that he’s right.  His daughter is kidnapped by a bunch of Albanians within hours of landing in Paris.  Who could have predicted that?  Anyway, Bryan knows his daughter is in trouble because he was on the phone with her as events unfolded.  He heard her screams and the foreign accents of those who took her.

These bad guys don’t know who they’re messing with.  It turns out that Bryan was once a spy for the U.S. government.  Once you’ve seen him in action, you’ll realise he’s got all the skills of Jason Bourne.  The only difference is that he has a few more wrinkles.

Bryan jumps on plane to Paris and immediately starts tracking down the kidnappers.  He does so with brute force.  You’ll find out quickly enough that he’s not afraid to harm or kill.  All he wants is to find his daughter.

I must say this is a strange role for Liam Neeson (Schindler’s List, Michael Collins).  It’s a stock standard action movie with few surprises.  I’d have thought he’d have gone for a script with a little more depth.  That said, he’s the best thing in this film.  The passion and relentlessness he brought to his character had me rooting for him.

I don’t have quite as much admiration for the screenwriters.  As I’ve already indicated, Taken is a movie which takes no chances.  We’ve seen this before and I’m sure we’ll see it again.  Bryan gets himself out of one too many perilous situations.  How long can he keep dodging bullets?  How long can he keep defeating large groups of armed men?  How long can he keep predicting how his adversaries will next act?

The bottom line is that the film lacks suspense.  I wouldn’t call it waste of time but I don’t think it’s a film you’ll remember too much about in a week’s time.