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A movie directed by Pierre Morel

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  • Dec 7, 2009
  • by
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 just one type.

There are times I enjoy seeing a complete bang, bang kill everything in sight type of movie; one where the bad guy is really, really bad and get his or her just reward. Call them revenge films, retribution films, breaking all the rules films, or what ever. Now I would not want to watch this sort of film every day, or even ever week or month, but sometimes it can be a good thing. It seems to satisfy some dark inner beastie lurking somewhere in my psyche. Well this film filled that need, sort of like a fix, and I will be good to go now to other films for a few months.

The story is quite simple; if simple you want it to be. A young woman joins her good friend and they travel to Paris to spend the summer. This is against the better judgment of her father, played by Liam Neeson, one of my favorite actors. As chance would have it, the girls are captured by some really evil, despicable, cruel, and thoroughly dislikable men and are to be sold into sexual enslavement. The father, Neeson, happens to be an ex CIA agent with remarkable skills in seeking people out and killing them in uncounted unique ways, both with his hands and various weapons. The story is about the father's search for his daughter and his efforts to locate her and restore her freedom.

The story starts out rather slow which allows the story and characters to be set up and developed, if you will. Only one act of violence is shown at first and it is rather mild compared to what is to come. The entire cast of good guy characters are rather likable, even the ex-wife and her super rich husband who you want to dislike but really don't.

Once the story gets started, i.e. the father arrives in Paris, then indeed this becomes a nonstop action thriller. Like several other reviewers, I completely lost track of the body count after the first ten for fifteen. These bad guys kept springing up all other and the nice thing about it was that they were the kind of villains you just love to hate. The Neeson efficiently kills them all, some in groups, some one on one and in various ways using his many skills as needed. Justice is swift in this little world and absolute. The father seems to be completely free of any restraint what so ever as far as the law goes and what little law there is to stop him is quickly brushed aside.

Now is this the best action thriller ever made? No. Is this a movie similar to Neeson's past work, such as Schindler's list? No. Are the special effects award winning? No. Is this a highbrow movie that you would want to take your date or wife to in order to impress her with your intellectual choice of cinemagraphic art, and set for hours afterwards spouting effusions and pontificating as to its greatness, noting subtle nuances she might have missed? I don't think so!

What this is, is a movie about a guy that kicks a lot of tail, kills a lot of people who richly deserve to be killed, and if you like such movies now and again, you will enjoy this one. It is a fantasy film and the deeds performed by our hero would indeed be quite impossible to perform in real life, or at least quite improbably. That is what is nice about this film...it is hard core, high violence fantasy with out the blood and gore you are served up in movies such as the never ending Saw movies. The acting is quite adequate and the story is interesting enough to hold your attention. Watch if for what it is and just enjoy.

Don Blankenship
The Ozarks

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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 …
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 . June 16, 2009
Taken Poster
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 …
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 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 …
About the reviewer
Don Blankenship ()
Ranked #228
Retirement does not suit me and I now substitute teach in our local schools system. I spent twenty years in the military, twenty years in health care as a consultant and have taught in various colleges … more
About this movie


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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