Movie Review: Taken (2008)

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I am honestly not a big fan of modern action movies. There are not that many that I have found that appealed to me. Sure, I have a few that I can call “guilty pleasures” (“Expendables 2” for example). And that is a bit of a disappointment considering I in general like action movies. Anyway… I also like Liam Neeson, the guy’s a great actor. Recently he started to do less dramas and insted do more action oriented movies. You might remember that I did a review for his most recent movie “Non-Stop” about a week ago. Well today we are not revisiting that movie! Today we are taking a look at the movie which launched him into the action movie circle.

Sons and daughters… “Taken”.

The story of “Taken” follows ex-CIA agent Bryan Mills (Liam Neeson). He lives a quiet life as a… retired guy. He retired from the CIA to be closer to his daughter Kim (Maggie Grace) who now lives with her mother Lenore (Famke Janssen) and step-father Stuart (Xander Berkeley). One day Kim asks for his permission to go to Paris with her friend Amanda (Katie Cassidy). So after a little while, Bryan agrees to it… with a few conditions. So then Kim and Amanda goes to Paris… but it doesn’t end well. And by “doesn’t end well” I mean they get kidnapped and it is up to Bryan to get over there and find them… in the most badass way possible. And there we have our story… at least in a basic synopsis-y way. Is it a good premise? Yes. Is the execution of it good? Pretty good I suppose. I’m not saying the execution is bad, I am just saying it is not done in such a way where it keeps me interested. Although I was interested in a different thing about the movie that we’ll talk about in a bit. But back to the point! The drama in this movie was not very engaging and never felt as real as it could. Sure, a few bits struck a small nerve with me, but that’s about it. Not much interest in the execution of the story.

The characters are done in a way that actually keeps this movie going. Not saying they are my favorites in any movie ever… but they work. Let’s start with the only one really worth talking about (Yes, I’ll skip the others), Bryan Mills. He is one of the biggest badasses ever. But he doesn’t only kick literal ass in this movie, but also metaphorically… let me explain. He is very well-written and also carries the emotional parts of the story in this movie. Sure, he doesn’t start crying in this movie, but he really shows emotions compared to every other action hero ever. Also, while he is kicking ass in combat and never seems to lose, you can still notice that he is vulnerable… not just the ultimate killing machine (even though he is that as well). So in general, good characters that work, but we only care for Liam fucking Neeson because he is Liam fucking Neeson.

The music was pretty damn good. It was a mix of a few cold tracks (explanation of cold tracks: Tracks that are calm and used to create a cold and kill-all-the-happiness feeling) and exciting action based tracks. All tracks in this movie comes together to have an orgie and make a great soundtrack for this movie. And that is something I really like! Good job, soundtrack!

Remember when I said I would talk about something that interested me? Yeah, me neither. But time for it to happen! What I meant was the action in the movie… it is pretty awesome. Sure, some of it is obstructed by the curse of shaky-cam, but what you can see is pretty awesome. It is fun to watch and it makes for great entertainment. Also, like I said, this movie really helped launch Liam Neeson into the “action hero circle” which I am so thankful for because he is amazing in action movies (“Non-Stop” is a fine example). Also… camera work (when it isn’t having an epileptic seizure) is fantastic. The shots done in this movie are really great and makes for some real eye-candy.

Reception for “Taken” has been for the most part good…with a few exceptions. Rotten Tomatoes has a score of 58% on it. On Metacritic this movie has a 50/100 rating. And while I couldn’t find a decent quote, Roger Ebert seemed to like it a little bit since he gave this movie 2,5/4 stars. The highest (overall) score has to be on imdb.com since it has a 7,9/10 on there.

“Taken” has fun action, a decent plot, some great music and a great performance by Liam Neeson. So now I will hand out my final score and the movie will take (haha) it. My final score for “Taken” is a 9,52/10 which is just enough to give it the “SEAL OF APPROVAL!”
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“Taken” is at last reviewed.

This movie has Taken me in…

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