7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
"I would sacrifice anything for her.",
This review is from: Taken [Blu-ray] (Blu-ray)
After a career which distanced from his family, former CIA officer Bryan Mills hopes his retirement will finally allow him to build bridges with his daughter and become more involved in her life - though he probably never expected this...
On a holiday to France, Mills' daughter Kim goes missing and her father is witness to the event via the phone call they are having at the time. Even while his daughter is on the phone about to be abducted he instructs her, after being absent in her life for so long he's finally there when she needs him. Armed with little information he flies over to Paris to try and find his her, the film follows Mills' actions as he fights deep into the criminal underworld in order to keep the promise he made to his daughter - to bring her back home. His methods are frequently violent and often ingenious, focussed solely on his daughter he has little regard for anyone else and he leaves a trial of broken limbs behind him.
'Taken' works well as an action-thriller. The main protagonist isn't a muscle-bound hero, he's a middle-aged guy who wouldn't look out of place behind you in the queue at Tesco - but he's calculating, in control, clever - and that makes him dangerous. The film stretches plausibility and the overall cast isn't all that convincing, but Liam Neeson is perfectly cast and he grounds the film, he may be cold and show little emotion - but small nuances give away the emotional drive behind this fathers quest. This is fast paced and the inventiveness of this thriller ensures that it remains gripping, you never know what move Mills will make next. His mental agility is equally as impressive as his physical capabilities but Taken has its weaknesses.
Towards the end of the film it does all seem to be a bit too easy for Mills, you become resigned to the fact that he will fight through any number of baddies with graceful ease, he is perhaps *too* efficient. Information, even extracted from the smallest snippet of audio seems incredibly detailed and quick to come by. The depiction of Eastern European gang leaders is a bit lazy, the stereotypes could have walked straight out of any number of films over the last decade. Mills' investigations uncover some pretty gritty scenes concerning the underground sex trade, the sight of women forced into sex under the influence of drugs is a soberingly dark one. After being exposed to such a brutal world it would have been nice to have seen a bigger justice dealt out, one which saw more comeback for those involved in supporting the illegal sex trade. But instead the film seems to run out of steam and rushes to deliver a pretty swift conclusion, the finale is a bit cheesy, it's typically Hollywood and the "they all lived happily ever after" ending doesn't quite fit in with what you've just seen.
In a nutshell: As an action-thriller this succeeds more than most, Neeson is fanstastic in the lead role but he is ultimately left to carry the film and although you appreciate his overpowering urge to protect his daughter - you care little for the spoilt girl. Big issues are exposed here but the film has too narrow a focus, I enjoyed Taken but when it ended I felt that it glossed over major elements and missed opportunities to be a much greater (and poignant) feature.
Location: Doncaster, Yorkshire, UK.
Top Reviewer Ranking: 122