Title: Taken (2008)
Dir: Pierre Morel
Rating: **** out of 5 stars
For the past year, I was growing doubtful that this film would ever actually be released in the U.S. but this weekend my patience was rewarded. And I'm glad I waited because this is definitely one for the big screen! If you love good ass-kicking, look no further than Taken.
Liam Neeson portrays retired spy Bryan Mills who has given up the business to try and reconnect with his teenaged daughter, Kim (played by Maggie Grace). When she decides to take an unchaperoned trip to Paris, the ever-paranoid Bryan must make the difficult decision to let her go. Then, his worst fears come true when a gang of Albanian human traffickers kidnaps Kim. Mills draws upon his skills and resources as a government agent to hunt down those responsible, make them pay, and rescue his daughter in the process.
The beginning of the film takes time to build the father-daughter relationship, which is absolutely essential. We see the guilt he feels for having chosen his job over her, and how he constantly struggles to impress her (especially over her "perfect" step dad), and how difficult it is to protect one's child without smothering them. I really believed their relationship and I think it makes the revenge/rescue portion of the film that much stronger.
Then the movie gets down to the really good stuff! The scene where Kim is taken is very tense and I even sorta got chills from it. Then it is SO on and Bryan heads to Europe to fuck some shit up. Every beat down he delivers is exciting and might have you cheering! Neeson is a complete badass in this movie. This is everything I want in an action film - a seemingly normal guy with deadly skills just kicking everyone's ass for a good cause. It might have been better if it were rated R (Rambo style! Yeah!) but I'm not sure, cause I really liked it as-is. Gore might have made it great, or awful, I could not say.
In any case, I highly suggest you catch this one in theatres. Taken may not be the smartest film out there right now, but it's a damn fun time at the movies.