Saturday, 20 September 2008


Exhilaration with modest substance...

As an ex-government special ops unit, or 'preventer', Bryan (Liam Neeson)is living his retirement years in hope of being more involved in the life of his 17-year-old daughter, Kim (Maggie Grace). While overprotective, and somewhat paranoid, of his daughter's well-being due to the severity of his past career, Bryan reluctantly allows Kim to travel with a friend to Paris. However the trip proves disastrous as both Kim and her friend are kidnapped by Albanian sex-traffickers.

The story unfolds in a very mechanistic manner and as such also plays out in a linear and expected fashion. This does not make for a lesser story, but it does feel too conservative for the film in its entirety, and the end result is a film which lacks the complexities which the themes explored involve. Still it is entertaining and thankfully never falters, though some events are somewhat out of realism's grasp. By the film's end, Taken has a profound impact due to its subject matter. Nothing is overly explicit and the theme of the sex-trade is not dealt with meticulous realism, but it is captured well enough to make it seem tangible. Half the reason is due to the the directors ability to make the characters appeal on a personal level.

Bryan's concern for his daughter is touching, though perhaps a little overbearing first. But when danger comes to Kim, Bryan no longer appears to have any fault: he was right in his judgement. This is not a problem, but in fact a keen reminder of the role a parent plays in their child's life. Neeson plays the role, for the most part, quite convincingly. He shows some genuine concern, and when faced with the task of an action role, Neeson kicks into gear with a riveting performance. However there are moments where he comes across as mundane, and not totally involved with his character. Maggie Grace and Famke Janssen play adequate supporting roles with both showing believable emotion at the dire and horrifying situation the character Kim finds herself in. Though it must said that Maggie has a very strange way of running that can seem rather bothersome; perhaps that is he way of running, as weird as it looks, or maybe she was an ill choice to play a 17-year old.

While an integral theme is that revolving around the idea of sex, there is none shown in the film. Nudity is also not shown though some women come close. Language is almost non-existent though blasphemy does appear every once and a while. The film is quite strong on violence, though it is neither gory or bloody. Fights involve mainly hand-to-hand combat with a healthy does of gunfire. It is all quite engaging and exciting to watch, with Byran coming across as a more complete and violent version of Jason Bourne or the rebooted James Bond.

As perhaps gathered, the film is not exactly realistic though it is the sort of film which could and deserves to be so if it wishes to rank among the best of cinema. This aside, Taken is a thoroughly enjoyable film with intense action, marred by a few inconsistencies and lack of foresight into the film's overall image.


Screen date: 20 September 2008
Release date: 12 September 2008


Farzan said...

Another good and interesting post. Havent seen the film, but it does look like its alot of fun. Might have to check it out soon

CruizD said...

Definitely you must, but the film only shows in America late January 2009.
Very strange...

Drivenby said...


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