Distributed By: 20th Century Fox

Reviewed by Melissa Minners

            The previews for Taken threw me completely off the track.  I thought this movie was about a man whose daughter was kidnapped as revenge for something he had done while he was a covert government agent.  I figured this would be a totally cool action film with daddy searching for his daughter and taking revenge on the kidnappers.  I was only partially correct – Daddy definitely takes revenge and this is definitely one cool action film.

            Taken stars Liam Neeson as Bryan Mills, a United States government operative (they never actually say what sort of special ops unit he worked for) who retires in an effort to secure a relationship with his seventeen-year-old daughter, Kim (Maggie Grace).  Unfortunately, his timing is a bit off.  Here he was planning out a long summer adventure with his daughter, while she was planning an adventure of her own.  Kim approaches her father for permission to go to France on what is alleged to be an art appreciation trip.  Bryan is skeptical at first, but his ex-wife (Famke Janssen) guilts him into signing off on it.

            Once Kim is on her way, Bryan discovers that the trip had nothing to do with art appreciation.  Kim and her friend Amanda (Katie Cassidy) are off to follow the band U2 on their European tour.  Bryan is angry and worried and thus, he stays up all night waiting for her to call him on the phone he has given her specifically for that purpose.  Worried beyond belief when he doesn’t receive a phone call the minute she arrives in France, Bryan calls Kim himself and is thoroughly unprepared for the shock he receives when she answers the phone.

            Bryan listens as his daughter and her friend are kidnapped.  Going on clues he has received during the phone call, Bryan flies off to France to find his daughter.  Using his specialized skills, Bryan learns that his daughter was kidnapped by a group of men who run a slavery ring.  Bryan must track down the men responsible for taking his daughter and rescue her before she is sold off and disappears for good.

            Okay, so I was a tad off when it comes to the plot of Taken, but who cares?!  This is one hell of an action film.  Liam Neeson has played action heroes before, but this has to be one of the best action hero roles I’ve ever seen him in.  There is a bit of mystery surrounding his character, but we still are sympathetic to his attempts to bond with his daughter and we certainly feel his pain when Kim is kidnapped.  Viewers will find themselves bonding with Bryan and urging him onward, rooting for him every step of the way.

            The fight scenes in Taken are fast-paced and exciting.  I found myself wincing more than once at the pain inflicted in each scene.  One of the chase scenes ended predictably, but it was still fun to watch.  Car chases, gun fights, hand to hand combat – this film has everything for the action film aficionado.

            Liam Neeson has some of the best action hero lines ever in this film and I can guarantee you that you will be hearing them happily spouted from the mouths of action film fans everywhere for every situation:

I don't know who you are. I don't know what you want. If you are looking for ransom, I can tell you I don't have money. But what I do have are a very particular set of skills; skills I have acquired over a very long career. Skills that make me a nightmare for people like you. If you let my daughter go now, that'll be the end of it. I will not look for you, I will not pursue you. But if you don't, I will look for you, I will find you, and I will kill you.”

You don't remember me? We spoke on the phone two days ago. I told you I would find you.”

Wake up! I need you to be focused! [stabs Marko in the legs with metal rods] Are you focused yet?

            Just based on those lines alone, how could an action film fan pass this movie up.  Those lines, coupled with the various trailers out there depicting some major action scenes make this film an action film fan’s dream!

            This movie is a total rush!  Things start off slowly to flesh out the main character, but not too slowly.  As soon as Kim arrives in France, every moment brings on a fresh rush of adrenaline.  Taken is one action film no self-respecting action film aficionado can afford to pass up.


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