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  Publicity Stills of
(Courtesy of Festive Films)

Director: Pierre Morel
Cast: Liam Neeson, Famke Janssen, Maggie Grace, Katie Cassidy, Goran Kostic, Leland Orser, Jon Gries, David Warshofsky, Holly Valance, Gérard Watkins
RunTime: 1 hr 34 mins
Released By: Festive Films
Rating: NC-16 (Disturbing Content)
Official Website: http://www.festivefilms.com/taken/

Opening Day: 16 April 2009


Liam Neeson stars in this action-packed international thriller that will have you on the edge of your seat from start to finish. When his estranged daughter is kidnapped in Paris, a former spy (Neeson) sets out to find her at any cost. Relying on his special skills, he tracks down the ruthless gang that abducted her and launches a one-man war to bring them to justice and rescue his daughter.

Movie Review:

“Taken” is a compact little action thriller with a muscular central performance by Liam Neeson and taut screenplay by Luc Besson and Robert Mark Kamen that packs in a visceral chill in lieu of an emotional connection. It has the sort of ferocity and moral imperative embedded in its every word, its every action and its every nuance. Driven by revenge with a hint of bloodlust, sad-sack CIA retiree Bryan Mills (Neeson) snarls over the phone to Eurotrash kidnappers in Paris that he's coming after them, unless they return his young back-packing daughter safe and sound. They hang up on him.

Bad move, considering that since “Taken” is the quintessential genre film of 70s-style vigilante justice, and Mills is the personification of the eye-for-an-eye ideal – the last bastion of the outraged and exploited – when the bad guys get what's coming to them in very satisfying, bloodletting ways. Its every step is charted with a precision of blinding skill and breathless, paranoid pace – two attributes that its French director, Pierre Morel of “The Transporter” and “District 13” fame, is undoubtedly well-equipped to use unsparingly. Armed with his CIA black book, Mills proceeds on to Europe with the blessings of his shrewish ex-wife (Famke Janssen) and her rich new husband (Xander Berkeley) with an ersatz-James Bond bluster, by way of Charles Bronson of course. He starts with the hoods, then works his way up the ladder to a sex-peddling ring. To synopsise the other facets of the plot would be pointless, because when all is said and done, the script is built on the injustice being corrected and the disenfranchised being rescued, with nothing underlining these throbbing pillars of vigilantism than finding and torturing villains.

Neeson initially carries this role with a world-weary hunch and a spent glaze over his eyes when he was just an ex-dad to the aforementioned daughter, Kim (Maggie Grace). Phone conversations are nothing more than pleasantries, until the one when gangsters bust down the door of a Parisian flat and Kim has to follow everything Mills tells her to do. Then, Neeson tears into a fury, purposeful and intense. The film truly begins in that instance and bears on the promise laid down in its premise. “Taken” is hardly ever a procedural or even logical, and it definitely never reaches a character piece even if in its highest conceptual aspirations it sees itself to be. It is merely a well-staged film that delivers a deft touch, an agile actioner and a physical presence with a finely tuned aggression.

Movie Rating:

(A fearless and potent thriller that's carried through with visual panache and Liam Neeson's performance)

Review by Justin Deimen


. Wanted (2008)

. Transporter 3 (2008)

. Rogue Assassain (2007)

. Transporter 2 (2005)

. Unleashed (2005)

. Man On Fire (2004)

. Seraphim Falls DVD (2006)




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