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A movie directed by Pierre Morel

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Liam Didn't Care Who You Were in "Taken", Take His Advice and Let His Daughter Go

  • Jun 16, 2009
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Normally, I wouldn't think of Liam Neeson as an "action star", but some of his more recent films have made me question that a just a little bit.  He played Batmans nemesis Henri Ducard/Ra's Al Ghul in Batman Begins and later in 2010 he is going to be playing Zeus in Clash of the Titans.  Despite these roles though, I still wouldn't classify Neeson as an action hero, but when he needs to be, he sure can play one and that is exactly what he does in Taken.  I was really impressed with his performance in this film actually and I wish he would make more like them.

When Bryan Mills' (Neeson), a now retired CIA agents daughter Kim (Maggie Grace) is kidnapped by the Albanian Mafia in Paris, Bryan must uses all his past, yet extensive training to find his daughter as he only has 96 hours to find her before she is lost forever.  Bryan must not only deal with the Albanians, but his old French cop contact Jean-Claude who is now corrupt.

While the only plot of the film was Liam Neesons character finding his daughter by any means necessary (which I will talk about in a minute), the film was still able to be something more than just another action movie.  I think for one thing, the fact that this was actually a French film and not American helped out a lot.  Obviously the other big help was Liam Neeson.  The man just knows how to act and even if this isn't a role he normally takes, he took the ball and rolled with it.  One thing that Neeson doesn't do so well that he managed to get better at in this film was mask his Irish accent.  He was supposed to be playing an American and I pretty much believed it.  The biggest aspect of Neesons performance in this film that I enjoyed was the way that he was able to not make the character emotional.  I mean that in the sense that, of course he was emotional and angry and was probably going to do terrible things to the people who kidnapped his daughter, but he was able to treat the kidnapping like it was just another one of his cases (if not going a touch over the edge), following all of the clues until he figured things out.  This was just a great performance on his part as this was a one actor movie for the most part.

The only thing I didn't necessarily like about this film was the kidnapping wasn't related to anything due to his past in the CIA.  I'm not giving anything away here as this is stated pretty much right after the kidnapping.  I think it would have given the story some depth if someone was trying to get back at him for something he did while he was an agent.  Sure, it's been done before quite a bit and I understand that doing the film the way it was done does give it depth just in a different way, but I still would have liked a little more back story for the character of Bryan.  At the same time, I think this was supposed to be a short movie because it was only an hour and a half, so I don't think they would have had time for elaborate back stories; the French like to do things short.

If you love action movies that have just the right mix of action and story, this movie is for you.  After watching Taken, I do understand why it surprisingly did so well in the box office, it's just a good story and well edited and directed.  Taken is now out on Blu-ray and DVD as well as ONDemand.  4/5. 
Taken Poster Kim in Taken Liam in Taken

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June 16, 2009
I really enjoyed this movie. Liam was awesome. My favorite part was definitely his bit on the phone with kidnappers: "I don't have money, but what I do have is a very specific set of skills that I have acquired over a very long career". He was serious and scary! Nice review.
June 16, 2009
That phone bit was awesome! But I also loved when he was in the room with all the albanians and he asks them to translate that note.
June 16, 2009
Looking forward to see it.
June 16, 2009
Great Review! I agree...Neeson is great. I wanted to see this in the theater but missed it and I didn't realize that it was out on DVD already. Thanks for the heads up.
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 …
Quick Tip by . April 25, 2010
I don't know if I believed a minute of it or will remember it in a month, but it was darned good in-the-moment thrills!!
review by . November 12, 2009
   Neeson is excellent as a government operative who is divorced and is still trying to make amends to his teenage daughter for not being there for her during many of her formative years. He is very protective for her because of his training Thus he is extremely adverse to his daughter going with a friend to Paris for a vacation.       At first he totally refuses to give her permission but is pressure by both his daughter and ex-wife to sign the permission slip. Of …
review by . December 12, 2009
Liam Neeson becomes a one man avenging angel when his daughter is taken by sex slave traders in Paris during the 21st century .    For 20 minutes we establish Neeson as a spook + who loves his daughter but was never there, his wife is has remarried a very rich man and he can't compete with him. The daughter wants to take a trip overseas with a friend, her father objects but relents with conditions that she ignores.    Lucky for her she keeps the phone he gave …
review by . December 07, 2009
There are literally thousands upon thousands of films to watch these days; films in any genre that you can possible think of. Some of these films are great films, some are horrible and some are horrible and great at the same time. It really all depends upon you mood and what you want to watch at any given time. Now I normally like romantic comedies or films such as The Princess Bride. But that being said, I also like a mixture in the type of movies I watch. I do not like a complete steady diet of …
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 . November 12, 2009
Neeson is excellent as a government operative who is divorced and is still trying to make amends to his teenage daughter for not being there for her during many of her formative years. He is very protective for her because of his training Thus he is extremely adverse to his daughter going with a friend to Paris for a vacation.    At first he totally refuses to give her permission but is pressure by both his daughter and ex-wife to sign the permission slip. Of course the actual …
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Julian Brown ()
Ranked #33
Hi, my name is Julian Brown. I currently write for The Brotherly Game, a local Philadelphia soccer website where I cover the US Women's National Team and the local WPS Philadelphia Independence. I … more
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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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