Written by Luc Besson and Robert Mark Kamen
Directed by Pierre Morel
Starring Liam Neeson, Maggie Grace and Famke Jansen
The film going world is certainly taken with a little movie called TAKEN. People couldn’t seem to be getting enough of it as its North American box office returns only dwindled by miniscule amounts week after week. This is after an already incredible run in Europe. (TAKEN was one of the biggest movies of 2008 outside of North America.) I felt it was time I saw for myself why everyone was so drawn in (a euphemism for “taken”) to what seemed to me like nothing more than a Bourne-esque action flick with a lesser budget and an oddly older leading man. Having seen it now, I can safely say that it is actually all of those things but it is also a somewhat tense, pretty brief and fairly satisfying thriller.
Seventeen-year-old, American good girl, Kim (Maggie Grace) had her father, Bryan (Liam Neeson), taken from her as a child. It was nothing dramatic; he was just more dedicated to his international government duties than his family. It would seem only fitting then, if one believes fate to be a vindictive concept with a dark sense of irony, that Bryan’s daughter would then be taken from him right after he has decided to leave his job so that he can reconnect with her. This is where the true depth and the true fluff of the film begin simultaneously. What I admired most about the film was that Kim wasn’t taken fro ransom or because of some wrong her father had committed in his past. No, she was taken for human trafficking purposes. It is so plainly put that it is frighteningly real. The film doesn’t stay very real though. You see, Daddy has a special skill set from his past secret government work; he finds people and he makes them pay. And so Daddy hops on a plane to track down his daughter and take on the entire British faction of the Albanian mafia.
Truth be told, I may not have been taken in by TAKEN but I will say that it was a good time. Even if your idea of a good time is not exactly fathers rescuing their daughters from international bad guys and avoiding misguided semi-automatic gunfire from five feet away by jumping dramatically behind couches. It’s no Bourne though.