(2008 - France)
With Liam Neeson, Maggie Grace, Famke Janssen

Directed by Pierre Morel
Reviewed by JB
Extended Version

Scuse me while I whip this out     Liam Neeson - Action Hero!

     Okay, it doesn't sound right, but it works.  TAKEN is a fast-paced action film that feels like you've seen it before, because you have: one man on a mission to right a wrong faces overwhelming odds and scores of bad guys (TV's 24, anyone?).   But the casting of Liam Neeson sets this film apart from others of the genre, simply because of the weight Liam Neeson brings to any role.  As an ex-CIA agent whose daughter is kidnapped, Neeson is surprisingly effective in a role that demands much physical action and hand-to-hand combat.  Some quick editing helps the cause, but for the most part, Neeson is believable as a Bourne / Bond / Jack Bauer type.  The film is scripted so that it is almost impossible (for me, at least) to shed a single tear for any one of the bad guys, as Neeson racks up the body count to a ridiculously high level.  Each one of them had some involvement in the trafiicking of kidnapped young women for illicit purposes, and, hell, they all deserved what they got.

Sorry, Daddy... I can't hear you over all the killing     Another great asset to the film is Maggie Grace, best known for her role on TV's Lost.  While I never cared for Grace that much in the show, her portrayal of a sweet 17-year-old girl shows me that it was the TV character, not the actress, whom I disliked.  Even in her mid-twenties, Grace is still credible as a bubbly, likable teenager who gets mixed up in bad business thanks to some poor decisions by her equally bubbly but less grounded friend.  For you 24 fans, compare her to Elisha Cuthbert's  Kim Bauer in 24, who always seems to get herself into trouble because of her own rock-stupid decisions, and tell me which beautiful young teen you want to see saved and which one you hope gets eaten by that cougar in the desert.  If I haven't mentioned anybody else in the cast, it's not because they're bad, it's because Neeson is the whole cake and Grace is the icing.  Or something like that.

     TAKEN may not be a deep and important film, but it is good to see an action movie these days that relies on actual action for its thrills rather than CGI stunts and confusing editing.  4 - JB


"I will look for you.  I will find you.  And I will kill you."

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