Taken (2008)

If you don't read my review, Liam Neeson will find you, and he will kill you

Bryan Mills (Liam Neeson), an ex-CIA agent, travels to Paris in order to locate Kim (Maggie Grace), his daughter who has been kidnapped to be sold as a sex slave, and has only 96 hours to do so, before he loses her indefinitely.

Nowadays, Liam Neeson is pretty much known for being one of cinema's biggest badasses, and this is the film responsible for him garnering such a reputation. Neeson is utterly captivating and magnificently believable in this role, with the sole moment of proof being where he gives his well known speech to the kidnappers. Every single threat and promise he makes over the phone, you believe he'll follow through with it, not because that's how the plot will go, but because of the way Neeson says it.

Bryan Mills is not a character who rushes in head-first, guns blazing screaming for his daughter. No, he's also a tactician. He knows he cannot save his daughter while speaking to her on the phone, but records what is happening so he can study intently later on, and it's because of tactics like that he stays one step ahead of the french government.

Whilst being a tactical person, Bryan is also a very determined man, willing to go to any lengths in order to find his daughter. He drives through buildings in order to make his escape, he'll make a man suffer through torture in order to get what he knows, and will even shoot innocent people (in a non-fatal way). And he won't let little things like getting shot slow him down, as he will endure anything in order to save his daughter.

"If you say Phantom Menace one more time..."

The film's action scenes are definitely worth the watch, particularly when Mills poses as a corrupt cop in the search for his daughter's kidnappers, that scenes definitely a highlight.

The script can be predictable and problematic. Also, the beginning was pretty slow, in an effort to build up the relationship between Bryan and his daughter, but it does manage to build up their relationship well. Famke Jansenn's ex-wife character is pretty unlikable also.

One surprise I found was how they made Kim's step-father, Stuart, a pretty likable guy. Maybe this has to do with Xander Berkeley playing the character in such a likable manner, but I found it refreshing that he wasn't the step-father character who's typically a dick in order for the audience to root for the main character to get back together with his ex-wife.

Something I found as the film went along was the number of similarities this film had with the TV show, 24. Neeson pretty much channels Jack Bauer (minus the shouting), doing anything to get his daughter back, not giving a damn about the consequences or thinking twice, whilst doing it within a time frame. Also mentioning the action sequences, where Bryan Mills wins fights despite being outnumbered.

Taken is a film that doesn't pretend to be anything more than what it already is: a chance for Liam Neeson to kick european ass while searching for his kidnapped daughter. If we don't get to see Jack Bauer make his way to the big screen, at least we'll have Bryan Mills.


Jeff SC said…
Neeson is totally awesome in this. One of those badass characters that will no doubt go down in history as one of the coolest of our time. I agree with your review, good stuff Rodders ;)
Neeson was pretty cool in this. But to me; that was it. Contrived, absurd plot. I don't remember liking it. I think I'll revisit it soon. Good work.
H.A.K. said…
(chuckles) "If you say Phantom Menace one more time..." nice touch. very nice review.
James Rodrigues said…
Well, at least we can agree on neeson. Cheers for reading.
Unknown said…
I was unsure whether or not to see this but after seeing Schindlers List, I have a bit of respect for Neeson. Good review!