Review written on: January 7th, 2009

Taken Review

Wow. Just wow. Someone recommended that I check Taken out a few weeks ago, and I was completely uninterested to be honest. Until I saw the trailer the other day. I managed to get a screener copy, and sat to check it out today. I’m glad I did.

If you though Liam Neeson was a badass in Batman Begins, you haven’t seen anything yet. He has car chases, fist fights, gun fights, jumps off bridges, and everything else you can imagine.

Taken is the story of a young girl who gets kidnapped when visiting Paris just after her 17th birthday. The kidnappers don’t know that her father’s an ex-spy-government-type who vows to find his daughter, and kill the men who took her. And from there, all hell breaks out.

Neeson plays Brian, the father. We don’t find out exactly what his background is, aside from the fact that he worked for the government. All we know is he wants his daughter back, and will do whatever it takes.

The story itself is fairly predictable, and I won’t give anything away for fear of ruining it for you. I will say that this is a typical action movie. There are no giant plot twists, there’s no “aha!” ending, and there’s no political undertones. It’s just an action movie where people kick ass, or get their ass kicked.

While the story could have been jazzed up a little bit more, the action, acting, and cinematogrophy were all fantastic. You really buy Liam Neeson as a distraught father trying to find his little girl in a foreign country. You also buy the fact that he’s beating the hell out of all these bad guys. Generally with an action movie, you think to yourself “that’s clever camera angles” or the like, when they’re beating each other up. But with Taken you really feel like you’re watching Liam Neeson beat people. There’s one scene where he’s bashing a bad guy in the neck with the butt of a gun, repeatedly, and you feel bad for that bad guy. It actually looks like it hurts, and not in the typical Hollywood way.

The casting was great. A few big name stars show up, such as Famke Jannsen (X-men, etc.), Xander Berkeley (Fracture, “24”), Leland Orser (“ER”), and Maggie Grace (“Lost”). While I was a bit concerned that they had Maggie Grace playing a barely 17 year old girl (and she’s almost 26 in real life), I didn’t really think about it when watching the movie. She, unlike many others, plays younger very well. She looked the part, and certainly acted the part. It’s a far cry from her spoiled brat Shannon on “Lost”.

In lieu of going on and on about how wonderful this movie is, I’ll simply tell you to go see it on the 30th of January when it opens nation-wide. It will impress you. It will kick your ass. And it will make you smile. I know it’s only a week into 2009, but so far Taken is the best movie I’ve seen this year.


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