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.
Disgraced Secret Service agent (and former presidential guard) Mike Banning finds himself trapped inside the White House in the wake of a terrorist attack; using his inside knowledge, Banning works with national security to rescue the President from his kidnappers.
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.
Seventeen year-old Kim is the pride and joy of her father Bryan Mills. Bryan is a retired agent who left the Central Intelligence Agency to be near Kim in California. Kim lives with her mother Lenore and her wealthy stepfather Stuart. Kim manages to convince her reluctant father to allow her to travel to Paris with her friend Amanda. When the girls arrive in Paris they share a cab with a stranger named Peter, and Amanda lets it slip that they are alone in Paris. Using this information an Albanian gang of human traffickers kidnaps the girls. Kim barely has time to call her father and give him information. Her father gets to speak briefly to one of the kidnappers and he promises to kill the kidnappers if they do not let his daughter go free. The kidnapper wishes him "good luck," so Bryan Mills travels to Paris to search for his daughter and her friend.Written by
Claudio Carvalho, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
In the film, Katie Cassidy's character (Amanda) is nineteen years old and Maggie Grace's character (Kim) is seventeen years old. In real-life, Grace is older than Cassidy by three years. See more »
Bryan is told that the kidnappers do business in "Yugoslavia," but no political entity has used that name since 2003. However, many people are not up on smaller countries' name changes, and use older names for countries out of habit. Since this movie was made only five years after then, it's a reasonable mistake to be made by someone not up on all international news. See more »
Mr. Mills, how are you?
I'm fine. How are you?
Very fine. I suppose you want to see it again?
If you don't mind.
You know where it is.
See more »
Who needs luck when you can break a guy's arm in three places?
Since the entire plot of this film is given away in the masterfully delivered trailer, it's not divulging anything to say that Taken is a modern-day revenge thriller. This presents an interesting experiment, actually. Considering that there aren't really any surprises to be found in Taken, beyond those we were offered in the pre-release snippet, are splendidly realized action sequences enough to carry this film? The answer here is a resounding "yes". Taken may be a simple film, but it's not simplistic, and even though the first third of it is spent recapping what we knew going in, the second and third acts here deliver enough thrills and action to make this film riveting, even if we know exactly where it's going.
By setting the chase within the ultra-sleazy world of human trafficking, which we secretly hope is just a media creation, but know deep inside that this reprehensible and inhumane phenomenon is a reality, the film is propelled by a sense of urgency that isn't present in most revenge films. Liam Neeson's daughter isn't "Dead", she's "Taken", so his race against the ticking stopwatch tracking her probable fate provides enough tension to diffuse any disappointment in knowing exactly what's going to happen here.
The selling point here is how deftly Liam Neeson hacks his way through a bevy of Albanian baddies. Neeson is untested as an action star, but watching him maneuver his way through the sea of detritus here, we're left hoping that he's got a franchise in him.
The film may not have the intricacies of the expertly crafted Bourne films (although, like every action film made since Bourne appeared on the screen, the fight scenes here owe an obviously rich debt to Matt Damon's antics), but the gritty and realistic path Neeson carves to get to his stolen daughter is sufficient to deliver the promise implied by the fantastic trailer.
You don't have to be a parent to understand and sympathize with Liam's plight here, and there is a morbid but exhilarating sense of release in seeing the evil empire pay for its transgressions. Sometimes morally complex, ambiguous studies of man's desire for revenge are too preachy to be entertaining. Taken doesn't really care if you like Liam Neeson or wonder if he's doing the right thing by flagrantly taking the law into his own hands; the film just wants you to strap yourself in and enjoy the tidings as he hands out beat-downs all over Paris.
This film doesn't want you to think. Like Neeson's character quickly realizes, thinking is often not a luxury present in dire circumstances like these. Action is what counts, and for those who miss the era of the lean, mean 85-minute skull-crack fest, Taken will re-conjure the giddy thrills of watching Dudikoff, Seagal, and Van-Damme chomp through a slew of B-Movie terrorists. Having an Oscar-caliber actor delivering the judo chops only sweetens the pot.
Forget about Oscars, plot points, or coherence. This dude's daughter has been kidnapped, and he's a former government agent trained to make bad guys' lives a living hell. Do you want to see him find his daughter and take down the scum who took her? Of course you do. Even reading this review is over-analyzing it.
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