Taken Review

Published 5 years ago by

Short version: While parts of it are a stretch, overall Liam Neeson makes Taken an extremely satisfying action flick.

taken review Taken Review
Screen Rant reviews Taken

My opinion of Taken may be skewed – I have a daughter. So a movie that shows a father’s daughter being kidnapped and the father going after the perpetrators with a vengeance most definitely speaks to me. icon smile Taken Review

Another factor in favor of the film is casting an older actor as a kick ass action hero: Liam Neeson. Of course the flip side is that having a 56 year old “regular guy” kicking major amounts of butt does strain credulity just a bit.

Taken opens with Bryan Mills (Liam Neeson) in the living room of a modest home. He’s alone and seems lonely. It turns out that he is divorced and is trying to make up for lost time with his daughter Kim (Maggie Grace). His ex-wife Lenore (a very stiff Famke Janssen) has married a rich man, and Bryan is having a hard time competing with that, even though his Kim obviously loves him.

Kim wants to go on a trip to France with a friend, but being ex-CIA and familiar with the dangers that are out there doesn’t want her to go. His ex-wife bullies him and his daughter’s disappointment finally convinces him to reluctantly let her go, but with a bunch of rules for calling him and checking in often.

Of course he turns out to be right and she and her friend are kidnapped rather soon after their arrival in Paris. Kim calls her dad while terrified as she sees her friend being manhandled, knowing that she is next. Bryan immediately goes into “CIA mode” during the call and when one of the kidnappers gets on the phone Bryan tells him that he has kidnapped the wrong person in no uncertain terms.

He heads off to Paris alone to track down the kidnappers and save his daughter, and that’s where the fun really begins. Despite the heavy tone of the film and what is at stake, it’s great watching Neeson as he follows the breadcrumbs, taking twists and turns (some of which are VERY unexpected) in tracking down his daughter’s whereabouts.

Surprisingly, Taken is rated PG-13. They manage this with the old “no blood visible” trick, but from the amount of violence and the subject matter (teen girls being kidnapped for sale into prostitution and addicted to serious drugs) I certainly think this should have been rated R.

Neeson is calm, cool and he kicks all kinds of bad guy butt. I enjoyed the film so much I could easily sit through it again, but it did have its flaws. Why did his CIA buddies not offer to go along and help? Some of the action scenes are a bit unbelievable considering how outnumbered Neeson is and the fact that they don’t present him as an uber-buff Stallone character. The number of dots he connects within a short span of time is also hard to swallow. And one of the people he kills at the end of the film with no repercussions is a bit hard to swallow.

But enough with the nit-picking: Taken was a rocking good time, especially during this January/February time of year when there isn’t much worth seeing at the movies.

Our Rating:

4 out of 5
(Excellent)

Get our free email alerts on the topics and author of this article:
TAGS: 4 star movies, taken

55 Comments

Post a Comment

GravatarWant to change your avatar?
Go to Gravatar.com and upload your own (we'll wait)!

 Rules: No profanity or personal attacks.
 Use a valid email address or risk being banned from commenting.


If your comment doesn't show up immediately, it may have been flagged for moderation. Please try refreshing the page first, then drop us a note and we'll retrieve it.

  1. Not a bad flick actually. though i think the whole loneliness ,am all there for my daughter , i’ll give up my life and mope around my grown daughter i wasnt there for ,was more than a tad overdone.

    you’ll notice parallels to Man on Fire , but yeah overall a nice flick

  2. I think the fact that all we can do is ‘nit pick’ at the movie being a ‘bit’ of a stretch is an acknowledgement of its awesomeness.

    I don’t see the problem everyone is having with Liam Neeson being a highly skilled combatant? The film tells us, literally, that he has a particular set of skills acquired over a long career that make him a nightmare for scumbags. In the First Act is becomes evident that he is not rusty.

    An actual flash back of him younger or something like that would have been counterproductive to the flow of the film and completely unnecessary.

    I found this action to be a lot more credible then James Bond… any James Bond. Definetly more realistic then Live Free or Die Hard. Someone help me out with a recent major action film that could be compared to this one…?

    I’ve seen it twice already, this film accomplishes everything it sets out to do. The writing, directing, acting and choreography are fantastic. In truth, I think it was kind of short, I definitely wasn’t getting tired of the well crafted action scenes.

    I’m sure we will be seeing a lot more quality films from this director, Pierre Morel.

    And… of course… Liam Neeson is awesome! As a matter of fact… this is one of my favorite movies!

  3. Casino Royale’s hand to hand combat is definitely far more realistic than this. People are more resiliant than you think, a lot can even take a concussion and stay conscious, much less get knocked out by a few punches. Casino Royale showed this in the bathroom fight scene, where it took Bond beating and beating and beating and beating the guy and he was still alive, lol. But I liked this film too because it does show him going for key points in the body.

    “I believe you, but it’s not going to save you” lol

  4. Great review. I was equally positive in my review of it at MyMovieSpot.BlogSpot.com.

  5. I thought this was was pretty good.

  6. taken is so cool i love it its amazing
    i llllloooooovvvvveeee it
    whoooooooooo
    can wait to get the dvd

  7. yeah the things that this man is able to do with his connections is amazing, and a bit unrealistic. that is the point though. The movie is meant to reach out to anybody with paternal or maternal instincts. This movie is a visual depiction of what every persons says they would do if they lose a love due to a kidnapping or murder or any other unspeakable crime in which a person harms one of our own loved ones. I personally loved the movie seen it twice on screen and will buy the dvd.

  8. Well zibe, he WAS in the CIA, so perhaps he does have those sort of connections, lol. They do make a living out of tracking people down. Some people are just harder to find, especially when you are forced to follow law and protocol, but he didn’t have to abide by any of that so he had free reign to exercise any skill he had.

  9. You know, if there ever was a REAL candidate for a Final Fight style sidescrolling beat-em-up based on a movie, TAKEN is the one. After the movie takes off and the hero’s goal is clear, it’s an endless beat’em’up.

    Liam Neeson’s presence is what gives this far-fetched action yawn with paper-thin characters any kind of “credibility”. This is DTV material, and his sole presence (alongside Famke Janssen) is what makes it look like a “proper” movie.

    I could see this starring Steven Seagal and released on DVD, with very few things changed.

    Still, this is a very enjoyable mindless beat’em’up, and an actor like Liam Neeson makes it more than watchable. To his credit, if any lesser actor was playing in the role, we would never believe one second of it.

    Don’t take it as a film that properly talks about its serious subject matter – it’s a beat em up.

  10. Anthony, while I agree with you for the most part, I wouldn’t belittle the movie down to Steven Seagal. Sure it was just nonstop carnage for most of the film, but the violence in the movie is slightly more BELIEVABLE (I said believable, not realistic per-se) than with most movies of this type. Plus the motivation for his rampage makes it so satisfying to watch, which makes it a great watch in my opinion.

  11. Yeah, the movie is certainly better looking than any Seagal epic, free of their most ridiculous (yet, entertaining in a different way) aspects (like the “This guy is good” speeches some villains say about Seagal’s character in a movie), but it just felt one-dimensional, pedestrian and a bit superficial (when it comes to writing, especially considering the very serious subject of trafficking/modern slavery). Neeson’s presence saves it and makes the audience “care” a bit about this father that wants to save his girl (because Neeson has the acting chops to convince you, not the script). Still, entertaining and solid adventure, I didn’t say it was bad, a well filmed beat’em up featuring a great actor, but nothing that can stay with you after it’s over. :)

  12. Very interesting points you brought up jokfeer. After some deliberation, I would have to conclude that I agree with almost everything you just said…

  13. I agree with lovestory, I think…

  14. The only far-fetched action movie I love. It’s just so satisfying!!!!

<-- Taboola Alt -->