Friday, July 10, 2009

Home Video: Taken

Directed by Pierre Morel
Released January 30, 2009

An ex-spy tries to protect his seventeen-year-old daughter from going abroad by herself, and lo and behold, she gets kidnapped by slave traders within an hour of landing in Paris. He vows revenge on her abductors, and gets on the first plane he can to get her back. It’s a clean premise which could easily have resulted in a film with little or no substance. Instead, it’s powered by the incredible abilities of Liam Neeson, who makes a very likeable hero who just wants to bond with his daughter, who’s spending more time with her mother and stepfather, and is ready to head overseas and rescue his daughter without a moment’s hesitation. Neeson has a very well-rounded persona, avoiding any jumps to blind vengeance and stupid moves and instead proving himself incredibly clever at every turn. The moment he finds out his daughter is in distress, he pulls out a homemade recording kit to ensure that he can recall every detail and do his best to find her speedily. Neeson also shows off awe-inspiring moves like slapping a villain in the face and jumping through a glass window to take someone down. The story leading up to all the action is decent as well, and includes a fierce performance by Famke Janssen as Neeson’s haughty ex-wife and a welcome (if far too brief) return to the screen by Xander Berkeley (George Mason from “24”) as her rich second husband. The film doesn’t try to pretend it’s anything more than an action thriller, and it fits the genre bill perfectly. It’s unceasingly entertaining and succeeds in delivering suspense and intensity. The most surprising thing about it is its PG-13 rating: most films like this spew blood from every villain and include graphic torture sequences. This is a great example of how a film can still be a whole lot of fun without the need for much of that.


1 comment:

G1000 said...

Here's yet another example of the absurdity of the MPAA. How does this get a PG-13 when films like "Once" and "Frost/Nixon" get R ratings for a few swear words. It's absurd.

P.S. Haven't seen the film, and don't plan to (I heard Liam Neeson was good, though).