Before Daniel Craig was ultimately cast as the latest James Bond, there was all type of speculation about who was up for the role. One of the names that surfaced was Liam Neeson. Qui-Gon Jinn as Bond? It seemed like a bit of a stretch at the time. Sure, he could kick butt with a light saber, but doing hand-to-hand combat? Well after seeing him in this flick, I am a believer. He may not have been the pick for Bond, but he was definitely a worthy candidate.
Ex-CIA soldier Bryan Mills (Neeson) is a divorced dad trying to reconnect with his 17-year-old daughter, Amanda (Katie Cassidy). It is a daunting task given the fact that her mother, Lenore (Famke Janssen), has remarried very wealthy and is able to provide Amanda with a lavish lifestyle Bryan could never afford. However, Bryan's challenge of being able to relate to Amanda is nothing compared to what he's eventually in for.
Amanda has the opportunity to vacation in Europe for a little while but needs the consent of both parents to leave the country without them. For some strange reason, her mom agrees to it and only dad is left. He reluctantly agrees, again, in an effort to strengthen their relationship. It becomes a most regretful decision as her naivete leads to her getting abducted by slave traders. Bryan is forced to resort to his CIA tactics in a frantic effort to rescue his daughter before he loses her for good.
First off, what parents in their right mind would allow their seventeen-year-old daughter to leave the country on her own without any type of parental chaperone ESPECIALLY without one of the parents? Even someone without the CIA background that Bryan had would know that was a terrible idea. The mom needed to be pimp-slapped for endorsing it in the first place and then guilt-tripping Bryan to co-sign.
"Taken" is released with some rather ironic timing. There was just a news story recently about an anti-kidnapping expert who was abducted. However, in that instance, it was the expert himself that was taken rather his daughter. It's doubtful it will play out as dramatic as the movie does and maybe not even quite the same Hollywood-type ending. It will be interesting to see though if that story gets this film some inadvertent publicity.
But again, this is a man's daughter we're talking about. That could have been another reason I was particularly interested in it. Any father worth his salt would do all that he could to protect his daughter. I could see myself in Bryan's shoes taking every risk possible to make sure his daughter was returned safely. Although it would help tremendously to posses the specific skills that Bryan does. They would be most beneficial in order to guarantee the daughter's captors pay the price for kidnapping her in the first place.
I never have been a fan of car chases for the simple fact that it always tends to take a fast-paced movie and bog it down a bit. It is harder to get fluent action out of big automobiles. Plus, in cases like this where an American is in a foreign country he's only vaguely familiar with, it makes it a little more incredulous. You would think that Bryan's pursuers would be a little more adept at catching him since they know the terrain better than he. Afterall, it is their home turf.
Overall, "Taken" moves very rapidly from beginning to end. When it's not filled with non-stop action, the drama takes over to keep you riveted throughout. You are intently drawn in to Bryan's hectic search as each move he makes gets him one step closer to his daughter's rescue. The fantastic journey that director Pierre Morel takes us on turns out to be thrill ride that never disappoints.
My rating: A