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January 2009

by Wilson Morales


Distributor: 20th Century Fox
Director: Pierre Morel
Screenwriter: Luc Besson, Robert Mark Kamen
Cast: Liam Neeson, Famke Janssen, Maggie Grace, Katie Cassidy, Goran Kostic
Genre: Action, Thriller
Rating: PG-13 (for intense sequences of violence, disturbing thematic material, sexual content, some drug

Website: http://www.takenmovie.com/


Released in most parts of the world last year except for the United States, 'Taken,' despite its retread James Bond/ Jason Bourne action sequences, with car chases and fight scenes, works on the strength of its lead, Liam Neeson. With a tagline that reads "I don't know who you are, but if you don't let my daughter go, I will find you, I will kill you," how are you not intrigued to see how this plays out? The setting may sound and seem ridiculous, but the film is entertaining to say the least. You can't go wrong in watching this formulaic thriller.

Retiring from the government business to be near his teenage daughter Kim (Maggie Grace), Bryan Mills is not keen on fighting with his ex-wife Lenore (Famke Janssen) to spend time with Kim. When Kim has the opportunity to go to Paris with her friend Amanda, Bryan reluctantly agrees as long as she calls him when she arrives and checks in with him every so often. While on the phone with Bryan one day, Kim sees Amanda fighting with strangers, and it's a matter of minutes before Kim is kidnapped by an Albanian sex trafficking ring. Using his skills and abilities, Bryan has a 96-hour window to find her before she is lost forever.

Produced and co-written by 'The Professional' and 'La Femme Nikita' director Luc Besson, the story is clichéd and predictable. You can go to any Blockbuster and pick up similar films that went straight to DVD, but Neeson is the attraction. At 56 years old and certainly too good an actor for this film, the man can match up with the Daniel Craigs and Matt Damons out there and be quite effective at his job. Left with nothing to do but look despondent for much of her scenes, Janssen is wasted in her role. For an action film, it has all the elements one is looking for: violence, car chases, fight scenes and a happy ending. And with a running time of 90 minutes, the pace is quick and steady. You'll get nothing new from watching this film. It's the same man-saves-the-day stuff we've seen in the past, so check your brain at the door and sit back for pure fun.