Taken (2008)
★★★★ / ★★★★

The best thing about this movie was its intensity. From start to finish my heart was racing like crazy because I knew that something bad was always bound to happen. Liam Neeson stars as an ex-CIA agent father who embarks on a mission in Paris to rescue his daughter (Maggie Grace) from the hands of slave traders. I can see why this became a sleeper hit: it had a lot of genuine thrills, exciting action sequences, and a plot that was easy to understand. Aside from the obvious rescue mission, this was a story of revenge in its purest form, supported by the fact that Neeson’s character did not take any prisoner. This was essentially a very “guy” movie because the lead character had a one-track mind and would do anything–even hurt innocents–to get to his daughter. I’ve heard a lot of complaints from audiences that it did not make any sense that a “regular guy” suddenly turned into a Jason Bourne (from the “Bourne” series). I am happy to say that those people simply did not pay attention because in the exposition of the picture, it was discussed that Neeson’s character was once a part of the CIA. I feel that this criticism needs to be addressed because, as a person who waited to see this film on DVD, such comments implanted a seed in my head that the movie was going to be unbelievably atrocious. It was far from ridiculous because active agents who go on assassination missions do exist and, as we very well know (unless one is so deluded or lives in a bubble), slave trade exists as well. Lastly, I have to commend Neeson for essentially carrying this entire movie. Not only was I convinced that he was a dangerous man, but I was convinced that he was a father who really loved his daughter more than anybody in the world, including himself, even if his gestures were not quite appreciated given the amount of thought and effort that was put into them. (He’s very detailed-oriented.) Directed by Pierre Morel, “Taken” is a must-see movie for fans of secret agent films and those who love great suspense mixed with good action sequences.

6 replies »

  1. I agree that it offered nothing new. However, I have to diagree with you about the lack of suspense. There was always that looming cloud that makes audiences feel that something seriously wrong is about to transpire, especially in the beginning of the picture.

  2. The one problem I had with this film is that Neeson’s character seemed as ruthless and heartless as the scum he was obliterating. It just seemd to put his character on the same level. There was no morality to it. I’d have accepted moral ambiguity but there wasn’t even any of that. It was pure revenge and no remorse. I understand that sex traders kidnapping your daughter would drive any man to ruthless revenge, but I just had a problem with the way it was handled. Other than that, it was alright. Nothing new but it was suspenseful at least with some pretty cool fight/action scenes.

  3. I see your point. But if I was placed in main character’s shoes (i.e. a loved one was taken), I’d probably do the same thing. And if that puts me on the same level as the kidnappers, then so be it. Why should I feel remorse for others who have taken someone very important to me, especially when it’s just for the money?

  4. Very true. I thought about that, too. If it was someone close to me, I’d want to go all bad-ass on them so I can see how it’s justified. It just left me feeling conflicted. But overall, not a bad movie.

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