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)

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TAGS: 4 star movies, taken

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  1. This movie is awesome!

  2. That’s an outstanding review for a film I desperately want to believe in. The film is from the same director that Did “The Transporter” and the last two “offerings” (dare I even call them that?) were lacklucster at best.

    I will DEFINITELY get out to see this one, based in our recommendation no less.

    Cheers!

  3. The film is kind of far fetched, but my friends and I had a blast watching it. Nothing more satisfying than to watch a loving father kill half of France to find his beloved daughter. That a-hole being tortured was a nice bonus too.

    “Are you focused now?” LMAO :-D

  4. I totally agree with the review. I watched it at the cinema last year (UK) and I said at the time it was one of the best action thrillers of the year. Thought it was a very good offering.

  5. I liked the action and fighting in this a lot more than in Quantum of Solace. It was fast, but they didn’t do extreme closeups and quick angle changes like they did in QoS.

    Neeson in this film is like a more believable Steven Seagal and not as fat…

  6. It’s good to see a nice 4 star review. It has a C+ on Yahoo critics, which worries me. I think the trailer is great, still on the fence with this one.
    The Rake
    http://thefilmnest.com

  7. I saw this (less than legally) a few months ago (I guess it dropped overseas last year). I thought the premise was really cool and Liam Neeson was a badass, but it felt long at parts, far fetched in others. I’ll probably give it another spin when it hits bluray though.

  8. Remember Vic, he did teach Batman everything he knows.

  9. quick update, my buddy who runs another film website (URL withheld, hi vic!) also thought this movie kicked ass.

  10. I have been excited ever since the first trailer came out. Me and my dad were like what is this? And now that Vic’s given it the thumbs up, it looks like we’ll be catching this next weekend instead of Gran Torino(daggumit, I gotta wait for DVD on that one.)

  11. Have been looking forward to this movie since I have seen the previews on tv. Now that I see that it has turned out pretty good, im going to see it next weekend.

  12. hunt, you can’t watch this over Gran Torino! This movie was fun to watch, but Gran Torino is BADASS. Well, I guess Gran Torino will come out on DVD before this will since that’s been out in the US for longer… Oh well, guess you gotta do what you gotta do, lol. Gran Torino is a must own DVD for me. I might pick this one up too. Probably won’t get tired of the line “I need you to be focused! … Are you focused now?” LOL, you’ll see what I mean when you watch it.

  13. “Taken” has a bunch of great quotes.

    “It’s only a flesh wound.”

    “I told you I’d find you.”

    “It’s personal to me.”

    :-)

    Vic

  14. It’s weird, because he’s such a bad ass, he knows if he wanted to he can kill you before you even know you’re being attacked, yet he’s such a timid guy to people he’s not taking down, lol.

    But I guess that’s true of a lot of people in real life, they don’t have anything to prove, so they don’t try to act tough when they don’t need to.

    But yah Vic, those are good ones.

    “It’s only a flesh wound” I totally did not see that coming, lol. I guess you do what you have to when your daughter is on the line…

  15. For years on TV we had The Equalizer; the late Charles Bronson had five Death Wishes, in recent times we had seen The Limey, Chuck Norris had ‘Walker’ on TV and last year we saw the return of Rambo. Now, all of a sudden…we can’t really believe a guy in his mid to late 50′s can’t knock a few bad guys around?

    I’ll guess I’ll have to see this to really know what or where you are getting with that ‘flaw’, but as of now, I don’t follow this line of logic, Vic. Unless he does something like Jason Bourne-ish where it’s something thrilling yet unrealistic.

  16. It’s kind of like Bourne, but slightly better in my opinion. In Bourne they like to do fast cuts and close ups so you can’t tell what’s going on. Basically you see Bourne flail his arms about and all of a sudden everyone around him is on the ground. Here, you see him hitting people in vital areas like the throat, groin, kidneys, etc.

  17. Saw it today
    I liked it a lot .
    I am glad there were some quieter moments at the end.
    I think the audience needed a breather.
    Me too.
    still,
    I highly reccommend this film.

  18. Vic’s deficiencies were right on, it’s a bit of a stretch that the bad guys can never shoot straight or the amount of collateral damage going on with little or no repurcussions, but it is brainier than most of the usual action fare where the good guy does have to connect the dots and uses his wherewithal to do so.

  19. @Darren

    Don’t get me wrong, I loved this movie. But having Neeson repeatedly taking out rooms full of young bad guys who you’d think could defend themselves pretty well was just a bit over the top.

    Then again I suppose you could say he had the element of surprise on his side. :-)

    I’ve seen it twice now and I loved it both times. To me this is a repeater, like the Die Hard movies.

    Vic

  20. Well, even in real life, it has more to do with training than your age or anything physical. Like the last guy he fought, sure you can look at it as simply a movie formula where the final person is the hardest, like a “boss fight” in a game, or you can look at it in that the guy he fought at the end was the head of security for that rich guy so he also have received top notch training and experience in order to qualify for that job. So even though Mills can take down other people twice this guy’s size in about 5 seconds, it takes much longer for him since he is almost equally trained.

    I don’t think it’s too far fetched to see a brawl go down that way if you put a CIA field agent up against a bunch of idiot thugs.

    Not to mention, Liam Neeson is a pretty big dude… And like Patrick said, he did teach Batman everything he knows… :-P

  21. Vic ,
    They just edited out the part where he rose out of The Lazarus Pit with the strength of 20 men!

  22. “Taken” demonstrates the fact that movies can foster a lot of awareness about issues in the world — in this case: human-trafficking

  23. If Batman could do it, surely his teacher should have no problem.

  24. As long as Darth Maul doesn’t show up.

  25. I really liked the film. It was like sitting in a theater in the 80′s and watching a Charles Bronson movie. I thought the first 40 minutes were they set up his character was really well done. Yes, there are plot holes but over all Neeson was great and the film for its genre is a winner!

    Chuck

  26. Awesome movie!

  27. Vic, thanks for posting this review. I like Liam Neeson, and this film definitely has me interested. Now, if I can just get to a movie theater to see it!

  28. I agree almost completely with the review. Absolutely loved the movie and I thought the action sequences were great. The one thing I kind of wanted to nit pick at on the review s is the fact that yes some of it was a stretch and a bit over the top for a normal man to accomplish BUUUUUT it was not over the top or even remotely pushing it when we put it into the context of a hollywood action movie. He didn’t really make any desperate moves that defied the laws of nature (well except maybe the long jump on to the boat) so in that context I realyl believe it was just a fantigittytastic® movie.

  29. Well, that “roll” he did as he landed was supposed to dissipate some of the energy from the fall. The way they teach you to land from a relatively high jump is different in real life, but the concept is the same.