Mobster and hit man Jimmy Conlon has one night to figure out where his loyalties lie: with his estranged son, Mike, whose life is in danger, or his longtime best friend, mob boss Shawn Maguire, who wants Mike to pay for the death of his own son.
Ex-government operative Bryan Mills is accused of a ruthless murder he never committed or witnessed. As he is tracked and pursued, Mills brings out his particular set of skills to find the true killer and clear his name.
Matt Scudder is a former cop now a private eye. He is asked by a drug dealer to find the men who kidnapped his wife. It seems like they killed her even after he paid them. Scudder refuses. But the man later goes to see him and tells him how his wife was killed. Scudder takes the job. He does some research and thinks the men he is looking for have done this more than once. And that everyone they grabbed is connected to a drug dealer. He was about to give up when they grab another girl and Scudder tries make sure she's returned alive.Written by
The novel, on which it is based, is number ten in the series of Matt Scudder novels by Lawrence Block. As of 2013, there are seventeen novels by this author about the character, the latest published in 2011. See more »
At the beginning of the movie Scudder is firing an M1911 pattern pistol at the fleeing robber. There is no similar weapon on the approved carry list for a regular (carrying a badge and not undercover) officer of the NYPD. See more »
You need some help, man.
I don't care. You want to mess up your own shit - but you're going to mess up mine, too. I need to know you got my back. Not that you're going to come falling through the door behind me...
Don't worry your pretty little spic head off.
Anyway. That was all I wanted to say.
Is that it? Fuck you!
[gets out of the car]
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Greetings again from the darkness. Welcome to the annual off-season gift from Liam Neeson. Seemingly every year, he provides us with a February or September release that requires his particular set of tough guy skills. This time, he plays Matthew Scudder - of the popular Lawrence Block crime novel series (17 books).
Director Scott Frank (The Lookout) works to create a 1970's feel, although the film opens up as a flashback to 1991, and quickly fast forwards to 1999 NYC. There are no shortage of clichés here, but nothing is over the top; and the bleak, somber, usually rainy setting establishes the tone that fits with "unlicensed" private detective Scudder's preferred method of living and detecting.
Of course, Scudder is a recovering alcoholic and former cop, with a tragic, careless incident on his record and conscience. The film is so ever-bleak, that the moments of humor ... though often awkward and out of place ... are quite welcome. The only shining light of innocence comes courtesy of a sharp homeless kid named TJ, played by Brian "Astro" Bradley. TJ is a Philip Marlowe wannabe, and quickly assumes the role of Scudder's partner/intern/IT Department.
Bad guys are everywhere. Even the serial killers (David Harbour, Adam David Thompson) target the family members of criminals, so as to minimize the involvement of the proper authorities. As an improper authority, we can't ask for better than Liam Neeson. He works for "favors", not a paycheck.
Other support work comes courtesy of Dan Stephens ("Downton Abbey"), Boyd Holbrook, and creepy cemetery groundskeeper (is there another type?) Olafur Darri Olafsson, who creates yet another memorable character with limited screen time (see "True Detective").
Mr. Neeson gets plenty of telephone action, which plays right into the strength of Taken, and it's pretty amazing how much WALKING he does throughout the story. He looks great walking in his duster, but it seems a bicycle would be more efficient ... though admittedly, much less daunting. As a whole, though the movie is probably a bit familiar, it's the little details and the powerful Liam Neeson that makes it a welcome late summer release.
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