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The following FAQ entries may contain spoilers. Only the biggest ones (if any) will be covered with spoiler tags. Spoiler tags have been used sparingly in order to make the page more readable.
For detailed information about the amounts and types of (a) sex and nudity, (b) violence and gore, (c) profanity, (d) alcohol, drugs, and smoking, and (e) frightening and intense scenes in this movie, consult the IMDb Parents Guide for this movie. The Parents Guide for Taken can be found here.
Retired CIA operative Bryan Mills (Liam Neeson) reluctantly allows his 17-year old daughter Kim (Maggie Grace) to fly to Paris with her girlfriend Amanda (Katie Cassidy). Not more than a few hours after landing in Paris, Kim and Amanda are kidnapped by Albanian sex-traders. Bryan immediately hops on a flight to Paris in order to track down his daughter, vowing to stop at nothing to get her back.
Taken is an original script by French film-maker Luc Besson and American screenwriter Robert Mark Kamen. Two sequels followed: Taken 2 (2012) and Taken 3 (2015).
When Marko (Arben Bajraktaraj) is being interrogated by Bryan, he says that Kim was a virgin and that they don't deal with virgins, so they sold her to a man named Patrice Saint-Clair because virgins fetch a very high price. St. Clair's client turns out to be a sheik (Nabil Massad) who has a penchant for deflowering young girls.
Bryan reaches the quay just as the boat carrying his daughter leaves the dock. He steals a car and drives along the quay until he passes the boat, stops his car on a bridge, and jumps on deck as the boat passes under it. After fighting his way past almost a dozen guards and getting himself shot in the leg, he makes his way to a bedroom suite where he finds a fat sheik holding a knife to Kim's neck. The sheik starts to negotiate, but Bryan shoots him between the eyes. Kim starts to cry and rushes into her father's arms. In the next scene, Bryan and Kim are arriving at the L.A. Airport. They are greeted by a tearful Lenore (Famke Janssen) and her rich husband Stuart (Xander Berkeley). Lenore hugs Bryan in thanks, and Stuart offers him a ride with them, but Bryan decides to take a cab. In the final scene, Bryan takes Kim on a surprise visit to the house of pop singer Sheerah (Holly Valance), who invites Kim inside so that she can hear Kim sing and "see what you got."
Granted, Bryan just killed, shot, maimed, stabbed, electrocuted, dumped overboard, and knocked out over two dozen people in his search for his daughter, but all of them were involved in the sex trade ring. Jean-Claude (Olivier Rabourdin), his old friend from French Intelligence, was on the receiving end of graft money for covering up the ring. The Albanians were the ones running it, and the remaining people were the buyers of kidnapped women for purposes of prostitution. None of them dared to turn in Bryan lest they implicate themselves. Only Jean-Claude's wife might be willing to talk, but to do so would cost her husband his cushy job and probably land him in jail. By the time anyone would have spoken up, if ever, Bryan was likely on his private jet winging his way back to Los Angeles. Once back in the States, the U.S. government isn't about to hand over one of their CIA operatives.
Taken is most often compared to Commando (1985), in which a retired army commando will stop at nothing to find his kidnapped daughter, and to Man on Fire (2004), in which the ex-CIA operative bodyguard of a young girl searches relentlessly for her when she is kidnapped. If you're into South Korean cinema, you could check out Ajeossi (2010), which is very similar to Taken in many aspects.
There are three versions. The first is the International Cut, released as an "Extended Cut" (unrated) on home media in the US, and as an "Extended Harder Cut" (with an "18" classification) on home media in the UK. The second is the UK Cut, which is nearly identical to the International Cut, with the sole exception of the torture scene (the clamps are attached to the chair in the UK Cut; in the International Cut, they're attached to spikes which are stabbed into the man's legs), which was cut to secure a "15" classification. This cut was shown in theaters in the UK. Finally, the third version is the US Cut, edited by 2-3 minutes to receive a PG-13 rating in the US. This cut was shown in theaters in the US. The differences between the US Cut and the International Cut can be found here.
There are four DVDs in Region 1: (1) The Single Disc Rental Exclusive, (2) The Single Disc Extended Cut, (3) Two-Disc Digital Copy, and (4) Blu-ray. In Region 2, there is : (1) Extended Harder Cut, and (2) Blu-ray.
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