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A movie directed by Pierre Morel

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Like a Real-Life Bond or Bourne

  • May 29, 2009
One of the most exciting and interesting movies to be released in the first-half of 2009, TAKEN is a thrilling movie about one father's journey to rescue his daughter from Eastern European kidnappers who intend to sell her as a sex slave to the highest bidder. Bryan Mills (Liam Neeson) is a retired CIA special ops man who has recently moved so that he can be closer to his teenage daughter, Kim (Maggie Grace) who is living with his ex-wife (Famke Janssen) and her wealthy stepfather (Xander Berkeley). Bryan loves his daughter deeply, but feels disconnected from her and because of the posh lifestyle she is currently living. He is concerned that she might be loosing her way. When Kim is presented with an opportunity to travel with a friend to Paris for the summer, Bryan is against the idea. His work with the CIA have taught him how dangerous it is for young women to be traveling alone across Europe. Besides that, Kim is underage and her protective mother and stepfather have been overprotective and sheltered her from any knowledge of the real dangers of the world. However, after being reassured of Kim and her traveling companion, Amanda's (Katie Cassidy), supervision by a family in Paris, that there would not be any globe-trotting alone, and Kim's promise that she would call her father every day, he consents to let her go. It is only later that he learns the girls aren't going for any sort of educational reason, but to be a band groupie following a particular group on their European tour. Bryan is furious, but is still trying to reconnect and against his better judgment allows her to go.

Upon arriving in Paris, Amanda & Kim are met by a handsome, young Frenchmen who invites them to a party later that night and rides with them to the place where they will be staying. Kim is a bit unsettled by the many, but Amanda is smitten with lust. Upon arriving at the residence Kim is shocked to discover that Amanda wasn't being completely honest with her either because the family they are to stay with are gone for most of the summer and the girls will be left on their own. Shortly after, while talking to her father on the phone, Kim watches Amanda being abducted and sees the men coming for her. It turns out the man at the airport was the frontman for a group of individuals who make a fortune from kidnapping young foreign women, addicting them to drugs, and then selling them as sex slaves. Bryan tells Kim what to do and she obeys his every command right up until the point she is taken herself. Knowing that he has right around 48 hours to find his daughter before she is lost from him forever, Bryan begins calling in some favors and takes a personal jet of his wife's husband to Paris and begins looking for his daughter and hunting down the criminals who have taken her.

TAKEN is an action-packed movie that doesn't really stop once it starts. The first 15 minutes or so of the film are expositional in nature to introduce the audience to the characters, but from the moment that the kidnappers break into the Paris home until almost the very end of the picture, the movie is non-stop action. Liam Neeson is a wonderful actor and I have yet to see him give a bad performance.

Besides just being a good action movie, TAKEN also examines some subject matter that most Americans are unaware but should become more familiar. There are some coincidences in the movie used for dramatic purposes, but the portrayal of how the women in the movie are abused and victimized isn't just startling, but is also quite accurate. The kidnapping and selling of women as sex slaves is something that does happen and in some parts of the world has almost become common.

Overall, I found TAKEN to be a very good movie. There are certain parts of the plot that are predictable, but the movie is action packed and makes for an afternoon or evening of enjoyable viewing. It's also a movie that any parent with a daughter should watch.

The two-disc version of the movie includes both cuts of the movie (PG-13 & Unrated versisons), two commentary tracks, a making of featurette "Le Making Of", a video of the movie's premier entitled "Avant Premiere", a featurette that illustrates how some of the action scenes were made, and some trailers.

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More Taken (2008) reviews
Quick Tip by . April 03, 2013
posted in Movie Hype
Taken is good as a popcorn flick, but my main beef with this movie lies in the fact that for this type of movie, a PG-13 rating held back a lot of potential carnage that would be right at home with it.  Even with that taken into account, it was fun to see Liam Neeson kick a ton of ass and kill tons of heinous people.      As stated earlier, this is good popcorn entertainment, but if you want superior pieces of fiction dealing with the Eastern European human trafficking …
Quick Tip by . June 20, 2012
posted in Movie Hype
I saw this again during Father's Day--I have to say that this has one of the best lines ever in movies. If a father is so calm and reserved during a stressful situation, when he says that he will find you, bad guys better listen--that means he means it...and he can.      Great Father's Day movie! see full review here.                              &n …
review by . May 12, 2011
posted in Movie Hype
Parents, if you're tempted to allow your teenagers to travel on their own to Europe, watch Taken before you decide. Today's Europe is a far cry from the romantic picture that many Americans still imagine. Bad things can and do happen to naive teens arriving for an adventure. Having visited France, the setting for Taken, several times in the past decade, I can say firsthand that this country has been inundated with emigres from eastern Europe, and not all of them are innocents in search of …
review by . February 08, 2009
posted in Movie Hype
movie poster
I've always liked Luc Besson. His films usually have a lot of cool attitude but still touches on realism (ok, maybe not "The Transporter") in storytelling and it is always a delight to see him take on a popcorn action thriller. His past projects include "District 13", my personal favorite "Kiss of the Dragon" with Jet Li, "High Tension" and "Danny the Dog" (again with Jet Li). Besson co-writes and Pierre Morel directs in this latest action thriller …
review by . December 06, 2009
posted in Movie Hype
Bryan Mills (Liam Neeson) is a retired and divorced ex-spy, who now lives only for his estranged daughter. The trouble is, while she seems happy enough to see him when he manages to meet her, usually she won't give him the time of day. She's got all she wants from her enormously wealthy stepfather, and all she wants from her real father is permission to go to Paris. He's reluctant because, as an ex-spy, I guess, he knows that Europe can be much more dangerous than most people think, especially for …
review by . September 17, 2009
posted in Movie Hype
While watching "Taken" I was reminded of several other "Lost Child" films and surprisingly the one which first came to mind was Arnold Schwarzenegger's "Commando." Specifically this movie is what that movie should have been like. Liam Neeson outshines Arnold with a witty and far more sympathetic and charismatic character portrayal.    The film's plot is simple but has enough twists and texture to make it into a fulfilling experience. I could go on and on talking about Neeson …
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What could be a skillful but ordinary action flick gets a surprising emotional heft from the presence of Liam Neeson as the hero. Bryan Mills (Neeson) has given up his career as a spy to form a relationship with his estranged teenage daughter--but when, on a trip to Paris, she's kidnapped by slavers, Mills uses all his connections and skills to turn the city of lights upside down and rescue her. Like most of the movies that writer/producer Luc Besson has a hand in (such asLa Femme Nikita,The Transporter,Unleashed, and many other French action movies),Takendrips with lurid violence (a bit toned-down to get a PG-13 rating, but there's still plenty of it), deranged sentimentality, and stereotypes of all kinds. But this doesn't stop his movies from being effective thrill-rides, andTakenis no exception.Takenpays just enough attention to the illusion of procedure--making it seem like Mills knows all the right steps to track down his daughter--that the movie cheerfully seduces your suspension of disbelief, despite many plot holes and scenes where Mills doesn't get scratched despite bullets flying in all directions or pretends to be a French policeman despite not speaking French or even adopting a French accent. What holds it all together is Neeson; his gravitas and emotional availability make his character--the usual action fantasy of impossible competence and righteous fury--somehow seem real and relatable.--Bret Fetzer

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Director: Pierre Morel
DVD Release Date: May 12, 2009
Runtime: 91 minutes
Studio: 20th Century Fox
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