Skip to main content

"Taken" as it is

Movie title: Taken (2008)
Grade: B- (3 stars)
Rated: PG-13
Summation: A government agent goes on a search for his kidnapped daughter.
Spoilers ahead: No

---

Taken has its share of problems. Whoever wrote the dialogue should be shot by firing squad. The souls responsible for about one-third of the acting should be put in the stocks for the better part of a hot afternoon. There are enough scenes of guns getting knocked out of hands in door-jams to make you want to petition the president to reopen GITMO just for the director. The writing behind the story itself is less than stellar, but these are my only complaints. Everything else was a rollercoaster ride of violent action, a jaw-clenching fighting flick that pets the ego.

While these faults without doubt mount a strong attack against the quality of the film, I am willing to forgive them. Yes, some movies do get a pass for their faults while others do not. Get over it! We critics do that! ☺

The plot, though obviously contrived, is decent. That is, this sort of thing can and does happen. But seeing it play out on screen speaks to the primal side of man, to the desire for vengeance, torture, and bloodlust. It doesn't put itself forward with a measure of great self-importance, nor is it merely an excuse to get to the action. Rather, the plot makes the action satisfying.

Bryan Mills (Liam Neeson) spent a long and rich career as a CIA spy. He's well trained, but retired and taking local security work to stay close to his daughter in the U.S. He’s divorced from Lenore (Famke Janssen), who has a new and very wealthy husband, Stuart (Xander Berkeley). Trying to keep close ties on his daughter of 17, Kim (Maggie Grace), he stays in her life and watches out for her. Maybe he’s a little paranoid, but it’s about to come in handy. When she and girlfriend Amanda (Katie Cassidy) take a trip to Paris, the thing dad feared most happens.

The two beautiful young women are abducted by businessmen who don't look back. They've abducted who knows how many women and gotten away with it, but Bryan's daughter made one too many. Bryan lives for making these kinds of bastards pay. It's what he does! He keeps in shape for guys like this. He's right there, waiting in the shadows, with awesome technology at his aid and connections in high places. Maybe he's related to Jack Bauer somehow? You feel that on screen. You get into that mood.

The combat sequences are fast and boast some fundamental wrestling maneuvers—a very Navy Seal-ish thing to have. Other moves, like knee hits and elbow strikes, show advanced knowledge of real hand-to-hand fighting skill that is still humanly attainable. The know-how and the determination to win both come out and nothing done is impossible, though a few shoot-out scenes border on the improbable. It's an action flick, but it's not mindless. It entertains…and then some.

Despite notable flaws, in Taken, you get what you came to see. That’s the important thing. On that basis alone, I’ll “take” it just as it is.

(JH)

---

Director: Pierre Morel
Starring: Liam Neeson “Bryan Mills,” Famke Janssen “Lenore,” Leland Orser “Sam,” Radivoje Bukvic “Anton (as Rasha Bukvic),” Mathieu Busson “Undercover agent,” Holly Valance “Sheerah,” Katie Cassidy “Amanda,” Xander Berkeley “Stuart,” Nicolas Giraud “Peter,” Maggie Grace “Kim”
Genre: Action / Crime / Drama / Thriller

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

When Jesus Turns Down the Glory: 10 Worst Ever Christian Songs

It’s a sad testimony when even the creator of a thing realizes that the product isn’t what it was intended to be. Well, actually it’s a good thing. It just doesn’t happen often enough. The Christian music industry is, shall we say, not up to par with where its admirers (and even creators and ardent well-wishers) would hope it would be. And when even the average believer realizes that their music is not market-cornering stuff, all should know that there is a problem.

Now not all Christian music sucks (you might even find a few rock songs from artists like Petra on Joe Holman’s ipod that he still sometimes listens to and enjoys), but what makes the stuff that does suck suck is that what sucks sucks for a number of different reasons. We begin the countdown going from best of the worst to absolute worst...

The Top 5 Most Powerful Beings in Sci-fi (Part I of II)

It’s a subject that is rarely tackled in any form outside of random questions on a message board, but here we will devote a sensible examination of it. Who – what – is the most powerful being anywhere in every realm of sci-fi or fantasy ever dreamt up by a finite human being? I’ve been contemplating this subject since I was 8 years old. At 39, it hasn’t left my mind. That means several things; (1) I’m a fucking geek. (2) I’ve invested enough of my life pondering this for it to qualify as an obsession.

As with all “Most” anything lists, we are faced with several problems, one of them being limited source material. A couple of these only made one or two brief appearances somewhere and that is all we have to go by. But sometimes, those situations let our imaginations go into overdrive and give us even more creative fun. The mystery tends to add to the experience of contemplation.

The Top 5 Most Powerful Beings in Sci-fi (Part II of II)

#1) The Douwds – From Star Trek The Next Generation

Claim to fame: This Douwd went from pacifist to mass murderer of 50 billion in a single moment of anger. He appears to hold the record for most murders in all of sci-fi.
Abilities: Just about unlimited.
Nature: True immortals.

Our winner, debatably edging out number #2, is a mysterious race of beings called the Douwds. We only get to meet one of their kind in a single episode (#51, season 3 - see the condensed version here) called “The Survivors.” It was one of the very best of any season. What little we know of this illusive race “of disguises and false surroundings” only adds to our fascination with them.

When the Enterprise gets an urgent distress call from a federation colony on Delta Rana IV about an attacking alien warship, they head over as fast as they can, but they are days away. By the time they arrive, it is too late. All are dead and the planet has been literally leveled…with the sole exception of one house and the small pa…