- Brian loves his jailbait daughter.
- Someone takes his jailbait daughter and puts her in great danger.
- Brian fucks them all up.
Liam Neeson is Brian, a recently retired man who once performed top secret tasks for someone or other, it’s all very hush-hush “I could tell you but I’d have to…” stuff.
He had retired to be near – and to get to know – his daughter Kim from a former marriage to Lenore (Famke Janssen) who has since remarried to Mr Moneybags.
When 17 year old Kim goes to Paris for a holiday Brian is reluctant to let her go unescorted but is “convinced” to allow it rather than risk another setback in his rebuilding of his daughter’s trust.
25 minutes into the film his daughter is Taken.
Why Kim is taken (she’s hot jailbait), why she was in Paris (a U2 tour) and what might happen to her (sold into prostitution) are largely irrelevant in the big picture, what is important is how Brian might react and how he might choose to solve the dilemma…
27 minutes into the film Brian gives the following speech to an unseen and unknown man on the other end of his daughter’s phone:
“I don’t know who you are. I don’t know what you want. If you are looking for ransom, I can tell you I don’t have money.
But what I do have are a very particular set of skills; skills I have acquired over a very long career. Skills that make me a nightmare for people like you.
If you let my daughter go now, that’ll be the end of it. I will not look for you, I will not pursue you. But if you don’t, I will look for you, I will find you, and I will kill you.”
Well that clears that up.
From that point on all logic and reality goes out the window. That’s a good thing by the way – this is a vengeance film not a science project. It is not his only speech in the film but it is the best, setting up a hectic non-stop last hour that sees a body count that tops 30. Easily.
Off to Paris we go. Shortly after “the speech” Brian meets a French policeman that he once worked alongside and is told “Try not to make a mess!”, well if he tried he certainly didn’t try very hard.
What follows includes – but is not limited to – the following;
- Brian beats up two guys in broad daylight outside a major airport (one dies) and nothing happens, he walks away. Glad they stepped up the airport security post 9/11!
- Brian finds the bad guys within 24 hours, dispatching many.
- Brian finds the headquarters of the entire woman smuggling operation in 48, stopping only presumably for a Red Bull every now and then – he dispatches many more and finds time for a little torture to spice things up.
- Brian shoots a very nice (innocent) woman – who has just cooked him dinner! To make a point, then on parting says “Please apologise to your wife for me”.
- Brian finds the Rich White Guy within 72 hours (the Rush Hour films might cop some stick but the claim that there is a Rich White Guy behind every major crime operation holds water in film after film).
- Brian sets off on foot and keeps pace with a car over a short distance – then steals said car and needs to race full bore for over 2 minutes to keep up with a river boat that had maybe a 30 second head start. Abandon logic when you can fit another car chase into the film!
Taken has the aforementioned high body count, some running gun battles, multiple car chases and some pretty nifty and brutal hand to hand combat. This is no action-comedy either, Liam and co play it all straight-arrow from start to finish – ain’t a damn thing funny here!
Fortunately being a movie set in France where the hero hunts a bunch of Albanians everyone manages to speak English 95% of the time. Taken is by no means a masterpiece, but you’ll watch a lot of similar films before you see a 90 minute vengeance film that keeps the pulse pounding and the eyes wide open as good as this one.
By the way – Here is a film where EVERYONE is wrong but Brian. The ex-wife, the daughter, the bad guys and the cops all make claims that prove to be FOS, Taken is the ultimate “I told you so” film.
Final Rating – 8 / 10. After making him go to Paris and kill a few dozen strangers I sincerely hope Brian at least grounded Kim for a week! At least he saved her from attending a single U2 concert.