Published Jan 29, 2009Given that Taken is a film written by two Frenchmen about a reckless, emotionally-driven American that goes on a rampage through Paris, killing any Middle-Eastern criminal that gets in the way of finding his manipulative bimbette daughter, it doesn't take a genius to figure out what the film is really about.
Particularly twee Liberals may take offence to surface implications, preferring utopian ideals and soapbox preaching, but ultimately this fantastically irresponsible and almost nihilistic action film should offend really just about everyone, and rightfully so.
Setup-wise, the film is overly clichéd and familiar, with requisite havarti-flavoured exposition, but it quickly slips into action mode, where things are still somewhat generic but considerably more palatable given how quickly and aggressively it all passes by. There is catharsis in watching someone unapologetically destroy and kill absolutely everything and everyone that gets in the way of his mission.
Speaking of the mission, the plot of Taken starts with familial tensions, to the tune of regret and parental substitution, when Bryan Mills (Liam Neeson) attends his daughter's birthday party, where his ex-wife's (Famke Janssen) new husband (Xander Berkeley) has all but taken his place as father to daughter Kim (Maggie Grace). Feeling a little useless, Bryan is understandably keen on flexing his parental muscle when his permission is required for Kim's trip to Paris.
Unsurprisingly, Middle-Eastern criminals keen on shooting American tourists full of junk and selling them off as prostitutes quickly kidnap Kim upon her reaching Paris. As Bryan is a secret government operative with "special skills," he takes a journey to the land of Jerry Lewis, relentlessly seeking out his daughter.
While highly flawed, Taken serves up a decent bit of action and political subtext, along with a highly entertaining performance from Neeson as an impressively solipsistic, almost sociopathic, father. (Fox)