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Thoughts on "Taken" . . .

Posted by 2 Dollar Productions Monday, February 02, 2009

Worth Full-Price, Matinee or Rental: Matinee or rental. This movie is a fast, solidly constructed kidnapping genre piece that is entertaining despite its shortcomings. It would make a perfect matinee flick if the story appeals to you at all.

Will I Own It On DVD: Doubtful. But I would watch it again if it flashed on cable some night.

1) I'm not a huge fan of kidnapping flicks, however, I enjoyed "Taken" for its economical running time (about 90 minutes), use of a teenager as the victim versus the traditional child, and mainly for the fact that Liam Neeson was the protagonist.

2) "Taken" wastes no time in developing the story, and somewhat blatantly beats viewers over the head with the fact that Neeson is a retired ex-CIA (or some kind of government "preventer") agent who gave up his career to try to re-connect with his daughter (Maggie Grace) in Los Angeles where she now lives with her mother and stepfather. After reluctantly agreeing to let her spend the summer with a friend in Paris, his daughter is snatched in an effectively tense kidnapping scene by Albanian mobsters who traffic in illegal black market sex trading.

3) Neeson is a physically powerful actor, and he uses his size to tear through Paris in an attempt to find his daughter before it is too late. His performance conveys a direct sense of purpose that never wavers as he beats people with his bare hands, tortures others and shoots a plethora of bad guys during his pursuit. There is a certain glee in Neeson's character as the actor seems to relish his somewhat pulpish role.

4) One area that the movie explores is the ugly and vicious sex trade that I hope is exaggerated. I've read horrible articles about these operations, and the movie pulls no punches in showing the forced drug use and menace used to convert women into prostitutes.

5) As I left the theater, I couldn't help wonder how in the hell "Taken" received a PG-13 rating? To me, this was just another example of how ridiculous the ratings system has become since it tends to always permit rampant violence yet slaps an R rating on any movie that uses the word fuck or shows a fleeting shot of a woman's breast. It is utterly ridiculous because "Taken" racks up an enormous body count and yet received a rating allowing teenagers to flock inside (at least as evidenced by the sold out screening I attended).



  1. Heff Says:
  2. Props for once again seeing a movie I haven't even heard of yet.

  3. Heff - It was the #1 movie at the box office this weekend (like $25 million I think), so you might hear more about it soon.

  4. I'll probably see this one next weekend. It looks pretty intense.

  5. Boxer Says:
  6. Great review and I think I'll actually see it after reading this. You make an excellent point about the rating system. I think the amount of violence in movies (and video games) desensitizes people and somehow makes killing someone not as bad as saying "fuck you". Weird message to send.

    I love the 90 length too - I'd consider seeing B.Button if it wasn't for 3+ hours of B.Pitt playing a new Forest Gump.

  7. JLee Says:
  8. I agree about the ratings. I'm actually shocked at some that are PG-13. I think "Uninvited" and some of the more recent horror flicks are. Anyway, this movie reminded me a lot of "Die Hard". I think I'll wait for a rental down the road. Kind of like I did with "Stepbrothers" lol

  9. Boxer - I too am a fan of the 90 minute job, especially after sitting through numerous long "prestige" pictures lately. And yes, I completely agree about the bizarre message the ratings board seems to condone. Finally, I laughed out loud about the Gump/Pitt connection from Button. Good stuff.

    Jlee - Rental would be just fine, and only then if you want to watch Neeson get evil on people. It's not as funny as 'Step Brothers'. Ha.

  10. BostonPobble Says:
  11. 1. I adore Liam Neeson and have since Darkman (tell me I'm not the only one who remembers that movie) so will be seeing this.

    2. The thought of him relaxing and just playing an action hero pleases me. We all have to be able to let our hair down and have fun occasionally, even Serious Actors.

    3. The ratings system is a joke. Loving consensual sex between adults gets an R but I can watch with my kid as someone's head gets off?

  12. Miss Ash Says:
  13. I glanced quickly at the photo and thought for a second that it was Keanu Reeves LOL!!

  14. Bostonpobble - I agree on all fronts, and do remember "Darkman" (Sam Raimi directed). I also like #2 whenever actors who are usually reserved and serious get to indulge themselves in entertaining pulp like this one. Enjoy.

    Miss Ash - Ha. You're right as it does bear a resemblance to the 'Matrix' posters. I wander if that was intentional . . .


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