Taken (2008) PG-13 93min
January 31st, 2009 by Maxim · 3 Comments · 12,335 Views
This action thriller is directed by Pierre Morel, who is mostly known for his work as cinematographer (War (2007), Love and other disasters (2006), The Transporter (2002)). Of course, a French director could not make an action movie without the best French action director Luc Besson (directed the Transporter movies, The Professional (1994) – a.k.a. Léon – the movie start started career of Jean Reno in US and was the best movie for Natalie Portman to this date, The Fifth Element (1997), Nikita/La Femme Nikita, and oddly enough, Arthur et les Minimoys (2006)). Luc Besson produced and co-wrote the script for “Taken” together with an American action writer and producer Robert Mark Kamen (Karate Kid I/II/III, Lethal Weapon 3, The Fifth Element (1997), Transporter 1/2/3).
The plot: an ex-CIA spy Bryan Millis (Liam Neeson) goes into retirement to be closer to his teenage daughter Kim (Maggie Grace). All those years he served his country cost him his personal life – his wife married a rich man and his daughter now lives with her. He was very worried when Kim asks for permission to go to Paris with her friend Amanda (Katie Cassidy), but under pressure from his ex-wife he finally agrees. However as soon as the girls arrive in Paris, Bryan’s worst worries turn out to be true: the girls are kidnapped by an Albanian gang that is engaged in trafficking women for sex slavery. Bryan now has no more then 96 hours to find his daughter in Paris before she disappears forever, and his used his CIA connections, skills and training to do it.
The good: Liam Neeson played well, and he surely performed in all action sequences well despite his apparent age. Yes, the action was pretty good. With Luc Besson’s writing and stardom as French action movie guru, the action was fast-paced and well-choreographed. There was hand-combat, high-speed chases, jumps from heights, some major ass kicking and shoot-outs – all of it set in the theme of a super-dad trying to save his teenage daughter from certain demise from being forced into prostitution. It’s great to have a super-dad!
The bad: The opening sequence is cheesy. The beginning of the movie is too slow. Although action is well choreographed, there are lots of continuity problems (stuff that gets broken in the fight in one camera angle turns out to be in one piece from a different angle, Bryan’s tie is off in one angle and off in another etc.). Too predictable. Typical action movie progression: the intro, the trouble, the hero comes out of retirement, the hero beats up a bad guy, then a bunch of bad guys, then kills a small-time villain to get to the big-time villain, and has to fight the Uber-bad guy before the final face-off with the big-time villain.
The summary: Super-dad comes to Paris to kick ass. If it wasn’t for realistic sex slavery imagery, this is basically “Bourne Retirement” popcorn flick.
The cast: Bryan Mills - Liam Neeson | Jean-Claude – Olivier Rabourdin | Sam – Leland Orser | Amanda – Katie Cassidy | Kim – Maggie Grace | Lenore – Famke Janssen | Victor – Nathan Rippy | Stuart – Xander Berkeley | Casey – Jon Gries | Peter – Nicolas Giraud | Isabelle – Camille Japy | Gregor – Goran Kostic | Sheik Raman – Nabil Massad
The crew: Director – Pierre Morel | Writers – Luc Besson, Robert Mark Kamen | Producers – Luc Besson, Didier Hoarau, Pierre-Ange Le Pogam, Michael Mandaville, India Osborne | Original Music – Nathaniel Mechaly | Cinematography – Michel Abramowicz | Film Editing – Frédéric Thoraval | 20th Century Fox | M6 Film
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