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Overall Rating

Worth A Look: 22.97%
Average: 6.76%
Pretty Bad: 1.35%
Total Crap: 6.76%

5 reviews, 44 user ratings

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by brianorndorf

"Father Knows Best"
5 stars

I have to admit, when Luc Besson sits down to invest in an offering of buttery popcorn entertainment, it’s an occasion to celebrate. Flipping through the likes of “District B13,” “High Tension,” “The Transporter,” and “Kiss of the Dragon,” it’s obvious Besson has a skill for picking out tight, twisted, lovable distractions, and “Taken” takes a welcome spot on his mantle of achievements. It’s an inconsequential action diversion, but damn does it pack a wallop over 90 taut, tempting Liam Neesony minutes.

Bryan (Liam Neeson) is a father trying to stay invested in his estranged teen daughter’s (Maggie Grace, 25 unconvincingly playing 17) lush life, putting aside his covert work for the government to make nice with his ex (Famke Janssen) and rebuild relationships. Reluctantly agreeing to send his child off to Paris for a summer trip, Bryan is confronted with his worst fear when the girl is kidnapped by Albanian thugs. Shedding his suburban exterior, Bryan launches into offensive mode, traveling to France with his only goal being the retrieval of his daughter. Stepping into the human trafficking underworld, Bryan is confronted with absolute horror and Euro threat, but nothing can stop his frantic hunt.

The one quality that defines the “Taken” experience is simplicity. Glorious simplicity. Besson and co-writer Robert Mark Kamen script a revenge story that’s built entirely from nuts of aggression and bolts of panic, developing a tale of parental love that stays the course of suspense to the very end. “Taken” is a low-cal dream thrill ride, best appreciated after years of explosion-happy Hollywood blunders, traditionally cluttered with superfluous subplots and unnecessary build up to flaccid finales. “Taken” certainly doesn’t reinvent the wheel, but it’s delightfully agile and bullet-ready determined, aiming to cram all the rage it possibly can into 90 minutes without taking its eyes off of Neeson and his beautifully intimidating performance.

The director of “Taken” is Pierre Morel, the filmmaker behind “District B13” and a man who prefers to keep his havoc blunt. Following Besson and Kamen’s broad lead, Morel dreams up an obstacle course for Bryan as he works his way from the initial interpretation of the crime (through a cell phone recording and help from C.I.A. friends) to the lawless streets of Paris, where Albanian criminal slime rule the streets with their alarming human trafficking scheme. Chasing a sublime Charles Bronson tone (albeit crossbred with Jason Bourne), Morel turns in an exquisitely lean motion picture, nimbly jumping from location to location without the natural hum of the piece interrupted. Morel understands “Taken” is the Liam Neeson show and adjusts accordingly, keeping Bryan’s worry as fine tuned as his wrath, giving the actor plenty of room to play as he maneuvers around clichés and stock villain characters.

After a 30 minute introductory period, “Taken” tears off into an investigative fury, following Bryan as he inches closer to his daughter’s whereabouts, using and abusing local cops and robbers as he sees fit. Again, “Taken” is not high-art, not especially logical, and doesn’t contain an overscripted orgy of afterthought to blanket the carnage. It’s a simple genre beat down with an outstanding vision for aggression; a convincing cartoon for those who like their revenge served cold and their parental responsibility depicted as nothing short of absolute.

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originally posted: 01/31/09 06:23:46
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User Comments

9/13/17 morris campbell good action flick liam is cool 4 stars
2/26/15 stanley welles a brainless bilious mix of sentimentality and bone-cracking violence 1 stars
10/02/14 joey from brooklyn albanian mobsters! suck it! 5 stars
10/25/12 Charles Tatum Quick, and full of loopholes 3 stars
8/27/12 David Pollastrini A tension filled thriller. 4 stars
6/19/12 fartvenugen So bad. Seagal did this much better in the 80s. 1 stars
6/08/11 R.W. Welch Snappily paced actioner with sharp writing and acting. 4 stars
3/27/11 Ken I adore a good revenge movie. This was right up with Man on Fire 4 stars
2/04/11 Monday Morning Hey Lee, the plural "morons" doesn't get an apostrophe, you moron. 5 stars
9/22/10 bored mom It's Splinter Cell: The Movie. 4 stars
4/06/10 TreeTiger The best action/revenge movie I have seen in years! 5 stars
1/05/10 RLan If you like action movies, this is one you should see. 4 stars
7/26/09 Bryan Tough, well-acted suspense thriller. 4 stars
7/09/09 Jeff Wilder Not a bad action movie. But as far as thrillers of this type go Man On Fire was better. 3 stars
6/09/09 Lee moron's wrote it, directed it, watched it themselves and loved it. fucking moron's 1 stars
5/29/09 kitfo another paranoid fantasy about child abduction, how could a simple plot have so many holes? 2 stars
5/26/09 Anonymous. great action but not a great movie... 3 stars
5/26/09 Bnorm It was incredible how many people that old man killed. Liam Neeson was great 5 stars
5/25/09 Brandon Allin Exhilarating all the way through 5 stars
5/21/09 Kike Sosa Liam Neeson's my new definition of "BAD-ASS" 5 stars
5/08/09 Samantha Pruitt AWESOME! constant action, Liam Neeson kicks ass! 5 stars
5/04/09 Mr. White Who knew that throat punching would be this good! 5 stars
3/25/09 ravenmad Awesome!!! Wish it got more press. Human trafficking is a sad reality. 5 stars
3/19/09 Total Crap Way overrated, great action but forgettable. I feel like I've seen all this before. 3 stars
3/18/09 ES Very good movie, Bryan Mills is a machine 4 stars
3/15/09 mr.mike Pulse-pounding , with Neeson top notch. 4 stars
3/10/09 Monday Morning Best thriller I've seen in years. They didn't even need the car chase(s). 5 stars
3/06/09 Elaine Best movie ive seen in 2009! Made me cry, laugh, scared.. everything a movie should be! 5 stars
3/02/09 Aaron Women and hyper-sensative liberals hate this movie.....which means that it is awesome. 5 stars
3/01/09 g. Excellent film, Neeson is great. However Maggie Grace was horribly miscast. 5 stars
3/01/09 blah blah uncut version is fucking awesome and brutal 5 stars
2/15/09 Todddi I think i could have written that script 1 stars
2/15/09 Joey Schmaloney Great film! Uncompromising and brutal. Neeson gets what he comes for and deserves to. 5 stars
2/15/09 Jenny Enjoyed every minute. Nice to see the bad guys get what they deserve! No negotiations. 4 stars
2/13/09 Wil worth the theater ticket, better than jack bauer from 24 5 stars
2/10/09 Brian When people kidnapped Peter Lorre's kid they immediately gave her back. Now that's scary. 4 stars
2/09/09 KingNeutron Only movie Ive seen since Dark Knight that was worth the Theater $$! 4 stars
2/06/09 Man Out 6 Bucks About time someone pinned Albanian KLA terrorists 4 stars
2/05/09 Faraz J Not special in anyway. And i seem to have seen iit way before the release. 3 stars
2/04/09 Aesop Action. Adventure. Entertainment. What a concept, huh Hollywood? 4 stars
2/01/09 Alex Thorne brutal, nasty, unflinching, and brilliant for it 4 stars
2/01/09 Ming great thriller and lots of actions 4 stars
2/01/09 Jack Sommersby The best action-thriller in years and the outstanding Neeson's best performance. 4 stars
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  30-Jan-2009 (PG-13)
  DVD: 12-May-2009


  DVD: 12-May-2009

[trailer] Trailer

Directed by
  Pierre Morel

Written by
  Luc Besson
  Robert Mark Kamen

  Liam Neeson
  Famke Janssen
  Maggie Grace
  Goran Kostic
  Katie Cassidy

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