Had a chance to see the new movie Taken, which opened today (January 30, 2009). Since seeing the first teaser for this film, I had a gut-level feeling that this was going to be a great film with Liam Neeson. And, amazingly enough — my gut was right!
Luc Besson helped write the screenplay for this movie with Robert Mark Kamen and it was one heck of a tight script. It builds gently, in the first 15 minutes, introducing us to the characters, a bit of their backstories, and then sets up the next 75 minutes that just doesn’t let up.
Bryan Mills (Neeson) is a retired spy who is trying to get closer to his daughter Kim (Maggie Grace), who just turned 17. Kim is living with her mom, Lenore (Famke Janssen) and her step-dad in the lap of luxury. Mills is recently retired, trying to find ways to simply spend time with her daughter. He hangs out with a few of his spy friends now and then and even does a bodyguard job for a few extra bucks. So his skills have not fallen into disuse and he still has an edge that hasn’t dulled.
Kim and her friend Amanda (Katie Cassidy) take a trip to Paris to follow U2 on tour. Sounds innocent enough, right? Well, it turns out there’s a group of thugs who kidnap young girls traveling alone and sell them as slaves on the black market. When Amanda and Kim fall into the hands of these evil people, Mr. Mills is not pleased and heads off to get his daughter back using all means necessary.
This is an amazing ride that basically is an interesting what if proposition. What if Jason Bourne (from the recent Bourne series of movies) got married and had a kid, grew up, and was kidnapped. Would you want to be one of the kidnappers? Probably not.
Everything in the film is pretty much an exercise in finding the shortest path from point A (wherever Mills is) to point B (wherever his daughter is). As such, each step of the way, if it involves violence (and most steps do), the fights are nasty, brutish, and short. He’s a very economical investigator. And one heck of an able fighter, whether in close quarters or with a pistol. I certainly wouldn’t want to cross him.
As I watched, the only thought in my head was… if one of my daughters was kidnapped or in danger, I’d want to be like Mr. Mills or have someone like him on my side fighting for my daughter’s life. As a parent, I was instantly engaged by the movie and stayed there for all 90+ minutes.
IMHO, this is easily the best film in this genre since The Bourne Identity was released back in 2002.
I give this 5 stars out of 4. First movie I’ve done that for in a while. 🙂
Go see it. I want to go back and see what I missed!
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