Directed by Pierre Morel. US. 2008.

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Based on a Luc Besson script and evoking memories of frenetic productions of his past (Nikita, Taxi); this production tells the story of a former spy, Bryan Mills (Liam Neeson) who takes action when his young daughter is abducted in Paris. Neeson takes the law into his own hands and tracks down his taken daughter to return her to his former wife (Famke Janssen) back in America.
The film starts with home movie footage which jerks in to reality when Neeson awakes from his dream this encapsulating his all encompassing passion for her; therefore making his vigilante motives in France all the more explainable.
There is a sly underlying political message in the film: while it makes the slave trade Frenchman evil, it does create Neeson as the big bad wolf of US imperialism, all the more appropriate because of Neeson being European. He is an ally of American big boy tactics. His strong arm tactics belittle national and homeland security with brute force.
Neeson does a bold turn; showing his agility in a fight and conviction in his search while the rest of the cast are for foresaken roles. But Neeson (a cheaper version of) is like Harrison Ford in 'Frantic' that collaboration with Roman Polanski - one word title, man on the lookout for a loved one, French setting.
Oddly the film ends with a closing door, reminding you of the closing shot in a great(er) film 'The Searchers' and John Wayne's seven year search for Natalie Wood. In TAKEN, the search is briefer taking little more than a week meaning she is virtually found before she is taken. While John Ford's film was full of poetry, mythic and landscape: Taken is full of MTV cutting, hard words and cityscapes - the flaunting of capitalism - hells the climax occurs on that ultimate of luxuries, a yacht; before the door closes on a celebrities door. A lot different to a door in the wild frontier.

Jamie Garwood

With a tagline reading How far would you go to get your daughter back? Taken sees Liam Neeson take on the underworld of Paris in this one-man revenge mission to retrieve his daughter.

Neeson plays Brian Kinsey a retired washed up CIA operative who has moved closer to his daughter Kim (grace) to salvage a relationship that has been lost to serving his country. His wife Lenore (Janssen) has remarried to a wealthy businessman and his daughter Kim now a spoilt teenager are both struggling to accept him back into their lives.

After persistent persuading a overprotective Kinsey, agrees to let his daughter head off to Paris with her best friend for a summer of Fun & culture on there own and is almost instantly kidnapped by crazed Albanian baddies to be sold to the underground slave trade, voicing ‘ I told you so’.

So using his years of experience Kinsey decides to go on a rampage and kill them all to get her back…yeah

Neeson makes a surprisingly good action hero a kind of grown up middle aged Jason Bourne in which the Oscar nominated actor makes you believe good guys do win in the end.

The film works very well not the most ingenious and original of ideas and script for that matter but, however the action sequences and fight scenes make up for that and can be pretty brutal at times you can almost feel every punch and bone crunching scraps along with Neeson, and will be willing him on to kick the dastardly baddies into next week.

There is a resemblance to films like the bourn trilogy and the transporter films (the same scriptwriters) but Taken is a reliable hard hitting fast paced action film that delivers on many levels and will have you leaving the cinema with that notion.

Money well spent.

Overall verdict   - A fast packed action film with great set pieces, well worth watching.
Danny Parker

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