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Taken (2008)

June 20, 2009

VERDICT:
6/10 Dad of the Year Awards

Just finished watching this with my good buddy Fred. So much for not being horrified about my future kids spending a semester abroad.

Taken is about an ex-soldier trying to repair his relationship with his daughter because he was too busy killing people for the good ol’ U.S. of A. to be a part of her life growing up. So in trying to be the cool dad, he lets her and a friend go spend a couple weeks in Europe. Then they get kidnapped by Albanians on the first day there, prompting dad to go on one of his trademark killing sprees to get her back.

Being the cool dad is never easy.

It’s directed by Pierre Morel (check out his first movie District B-13, wild action movie) who puts together some sweet action scenes here and there, but for the most part it’s one of those movies where there’s so much crap going on at once that it all just kind of blurs together. Can’t imagine what a seizure-fest this must have been in the theaters.

The story’s nothing special, the dialogue is fine, but dear lord, when did Liam Neeson turn into such a badass?

This is Oskar Schindler we’re talking about here, never done an action movie in his life. But for some reason, Neeson is absolutely awesome as the ten-foot-tall one-man wrecking crew whose entire arsenal of close combat fighting moves boils down to “Chop. Neck.” Never gets old and it sure does the trick.

Wasn’t expecting much out of Mr. Neeson, but he sure as hell carries the movie and he does a surprisingly great job.

Taken was also written by Luc Besson, director and writer of some of the greatest action movies ever made (The Professional and La Femme Nikita being the best of the bunch). You can see traces of Besson in the way the movie is paced at times, but Taken really isn’t a good judge of what he can do as a writer and a film maker. Just sayin’.

There’s also no main bad guy in the movie, which is kind of a double edged sword. While it’s fun to watch Neeson snuff out one extra after another who can’t shoot or fight worth a damn, there’s no one to really root against or anyone who just might be capable of stopping this walking Irish bloodbath. I think we’re just supposed to assume he was in the U.S. military, but whatever, minor casting glitch that will probably get my neck chopped if I complain about it.

But in the end, Taken is a fun movie. The hour and a half fly by in an instant and if you’re not looking to think to any great extent, can’t really go wrong here. It’s not a great action movie, but it’s worth seeing for Neeson who makes it better than anyone else could have.

That’s the last time I trust Albanian human-traffickers.

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