TAKEN :: ACTION :: 002


taken_ver5Liam Neeson takes to the role of an “ex” super-agent, turn super-dad in this straight-plot, take-no-prisoners, movie o’ greatness.  Jenny and I just finished watching this movie on a night out with friends, and it was even better the second time around!  From the moment Neeson’s character, Bryan Mills, overhears the deathly panic in his daughter’s voice, he becomes an unstoppable force.  Forget Jedi Qui-Gon Jinn… Bryan Mills is a beast and destroys, barehandedly, more people than I could possibly count. [I promise I’ll count next time.  Know the number? Comment below.]

When I saw the trailer in the theaters, I instantly gave it two thumbs up.  When I watched it the first time, I recognized a big reason why it ranks so highly;  it’s a lot like the show, 24.  I found three big connections… one, Byran’s daughter’s name is Kim (like Kim Bauer in 24), Kim’s stepdad Stuart is played by Xander Berkeley (who played George Mason in 24), and lastly, Byran goes to the farthest lengths to retrieve his kidnapped daughter (which happens in Season 1).

I was teetering on giving this movie an 8, but I choose a 9 for several reasons.  The main reason was simply that after Byran robs the first, quick dozen bad guys of life… you come to a conclusion right away that this guy must have been among the volunteers of the Treadstone Project (see Bourne Identity) because, like Jason Bourne, Bryan Mills is a friggin’ machine… a robo-cop of retribution.  Movie-goers love uncertainty, of being put off-guard and this movie, put him in peril only once in my opinion.  Even then, surrounded by 5 men and almost certain death, my heart-rate remained steady and my mind confident that Bryan had the situation well in-hand.

There were several things that put me off and threatened the demotion from a 9 to an 8 and these were: the ridiculous Pheobe-Buffay-like schoolgirl runnings of Bryan’s daughter Kim.  It was laughable but also offered some humor.  I’ve never actually seen a 17 year old run that ridiculous so maybe it was thrown in for comic relief?  But later, I came to terms with it because, hell, some teenagers probably run that way.  And I should probably step down off my throne and not judge.  The other put-off was trivial as well, and that was the absurdly snooty and lavish birthday party that step-dad/mogal Stuart (Xander Berkeley) and mother, Lenore (Famke Janssen) threw for Kim.  A segregation of youth and adults? And moments later, Stuart (step-dad) upstaging Bryan (biological dad) by giving Kim a horse?  Ouch.  But the last and final reason why this movie is a 9 and not an 8, is to prove my girlfriend wrong.  I was deliberating very strongly when Jenny said, “knowing you… you’ll probably give it an 8.”    Why?, I said.  “Because you’re a harsh critic,” she replied.  And since I deem the above “put-offs” rather cheap and erroneous…AND since I choose to prove Jenny wrong,…viola!…a NINE.

In summing up my thoughts… TAKEN scores highly on the watchability meter due to its non-stop intensity, quick and brutal fight scenes and great acting from one of Hollywood’s most capable actors.

Let’s here what you thought of Taken.  The lines are open!!!!


5 Responses to “TAKEN :: ACTION :: 002”

  1. Nice review man ! perhaps I will put this movie on my site now!

  2. Prunaman Says:

    I love the review. I never made th connections to 24 so I think that is pretty interesting. I thought Taken was one of the more enjoyable action films hat has been released in recent memory.

  3. I haven’t seen this so maybe I will.
    When it came out all of my friends jokes that “What is Liam Neeson doing playing Harrison Ford’s part”.

    I will stick this on my to watch list.

  4. Jenny Says:

    The birthday party was key in showing how superficial the stepfamily/mom was. A part of the story was his ex’s and daughter’s inability to understand why he was absent so much throughout their lives. It gave the impression that rainbow and butterflies (money and horses), were more important to them, than bravery, honor, and freedom. I think the movie was really an 8 for the lack of realism in two situations: Reason 1: at the end when the daughter is all drugged unable to barely stand (don’t want to give too much away for those that haven’t seen it), and then less than a few minutes later she was just fine? Reason 2: any man that went through all of that for his daughter would be IRRESISTIBLE. I would think that his family’s inability to understand his absence, and his “job” would have all came forward and the family would have been back together again. Maybe that isn’t realistic, but it would have brought the story full circle. I don’t need your horse and money: I need my husband/daddy, my hero! It was the underlining theme, and it wasn’t resolved for me.

  5. Jeannie Says:

    Jenny makes excellent points. But well – right off the bat Liam Neeson scores huge in pretty much any movie for me… forget Qui-Gon Jinn, indeed! and I just couldn’t get enough of him in this movie not unlike the way I feel whenever I watch Jet Li and all his magnificence in his movies.

    I agree with your 9… totally! Hey! We agree on a movie, Michael! That is a small miracle!

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