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Taken

Taken

What She said:

She

This review is a little bit overdue, like 5 years overdue.  I had heard pretty good things about the movie Taken ever since it came out in 2008, but the problem was that The He had already seen it, and so I could never justify spending the money to rent it on my own.  Well, as time passed and a sequel was created, the temptation to see the original grew until it finally overwhelmed me last weekend.  The He and I sat down and rented the original Taken, starring Liam Neeson, Maggie Grace, and Famke Janssen. 

So here are your basics.  Neeson plays Bryan Mills a retired undercover operative.  Mills is just trying to assume a normal, quiet life, moving closer to his daughter, Kim (Grace), and hoping to repair their fragile relationship.  He ex-wife, Lenore (Janssen), continually holds Bryan’s less-than-favorable past parenting over his head, blaming him and his former work for the dissolution of their marriage and life.  In an effort to make Kim like him, Bryan agrees to let the 17-year-old travel to Paris alone, accompanied only by a very untrustworthy  19-year-old friend.  This is, of course, against his better judgment.  All heck breaks loose when Kim is abducted almost immediately upon landing in the country, and sold into a sex trade ring.  Bryan, using all the resources available to him, makes it his quest to get Kim back and make the bad guys pay for what they’ve done.  He travels to France and begins to kick some serious butt.  And man, does he got some moves, even for a 50-something oldie.

Generally, Liam Neeson movies can go either way, especially his more recent work.  He’s one of those actors who seems to sign on for just about anything—so it can either be really good, or really, really bad.  Taken is actually pretty decent.  Sure, it has some clear flaws.  For one thing, Maggie Grace is terribly miscast as a 17-year-old.  She would have been 25 when this movie was actually released, and while moviemakers do their best to make her look like a teenager, it’s not quite convincing enough.  One’s gotta wonder why they didn’t just go for someone who is actually younger.  Overall, the characters in this film are also grossly underdeveloped.  Even the protagonist, Bryan, is somewhat flat.  But, I have to acknowledge that this movie serves its purpose.  It’s a straight-up action movie.  Maybe they tried to go a little deeper with the sex-trade notion, but on screen it all comes through as your basic shoot-em-up/hand-to-hand combat-fest.  And that’s fine.  They cannot all be The Bourne Identity

Will some be disappointed that this movie doesn’t quite live up to expectations?  Maybe.  But if you’re just looking for a simple action movie with explosive fight scenes, then Taken is for you.  I’m not sure I’ll be reviewing Taken 2 anytime soon.  It got absolutely ripped by critics and so I’m apprehensive to see it.  But perhaps.  Taken was fun enough to fill my needs as a moviegoer, and so I recommend it for your next Saturday night bro-fest.

Thumbs mostly up.

Taken

 

What he said:

He

Bryan Mills (Liam Neeson) is a caring, well-meaning, but overprotective father. It would be fair to say he’s even a wee bit paranoid. This is because Bryan used to be a CIA operative. When your job involves dodging attempts on your life, I can see why you might always be looking over your shoulder.

His job is also the reason his personal life is nonexistent. He’s divorced and doesn’t get to see his daughter all that often. As a result, he opts for retirement and moves to California – where his daughter lives with her mother and stepfather – in an attempt to spend more time with him. Every encounter with his wife (Famke Janssen) is an awkward one. She blames his job for the divorce and reminds him of that almost every time they meet. His daughter Kim (Maggie Grace) seems happy to have him in her life though. That is until he doesn’t agree to allow her to go on a trip to France with one of her teenaged friends. After disappointing her and mulling it over a little bit, he changes his mind, but only under a few conditions. She has to check in with him on almost a constant basis, but she happily agrees.

Taken

Well it turns out Bryan’s paranoia might have been warranted, because not long after landing in Paris, Kim and her friend are abducted.  Even worse is that her captors are involved in the sex trade. Capturing a CIA operative’s daughter is enough to piss him off, but when you plan to sell her with the intentions of forcing her into prostitution, you’ve got a really big problem.

From this point forward Bryan goes on a manhunt mowing down one dirtbag after another. He will stop at nothing to get his daughter back. Criminals and authorities can do nothing to deter him from completing his quest.

If this review seems short for me, that’s because there isn’t a whole lot to talk about. I pretty much described the movie in a nutshell. Guy’s daughter gets captured, he kills a bunch of people while trying to get her back, and that’s all she wrote. There isn’t much of a storyline, the characters aren’t particularly interesting, but you get to watch Neeson kill a bunch of bad guys in all kinds of creative ways. It’s entertaining, but even that gets a repetitive at times. Neeson can be fun to watch. He has an intimidating presence and kicks ass, but even just a little development would have helped.

Maggie Grace did a decent job attempting to portray a 17 year old, however she simply looked too old to make it totally believable. I give her credit for doing the best with what she was given, but she should have never been cast.

You know what movie I really want to see? The one where Neeson’s character is thrown into a cage with Jason Bourne, one armed with a paperclip, the other with a pencil. Now that would be entertaining.

Rating: Thumbs half up.Not great, not terrible. Worth a watch if this is your kind of thing and your bored.

This movie review was written for your reading pleasure on February 9, 2013.