MOVIE: Taken (2009)

It’s a rare occasion when my husband expresses an interest to hang out and watch a DVD with me, so whenever it happens, I always drop everything and leap.  That said, it’s always a challenge to pick out a movie we both want to see, unless that movie happens to be any one of the three Lord of the Ring films or Zoolander.   At the video store, I tend to gravitate towards the crap  and he tends to gravitate towards the non-crap.  Sometimes I win, sometimes he wins, sometimes we meet somewhere in the middle.

This one fits into that latter category.  Neither full-on crap, nor full-on non-crap.

Taken is about a former spy named Bryan (Liam Neeson) who recently retired so he could spend more time with his teenage daughter, Kim (Maggie Grace).   Just as they are beginning to reconnect, Kim asks for his permission to spend a few weeks in Paris with her friends.  Bryan initially refuses — he’s seen a lot in his career, and it’s made him a bit on the overprotective side.  But when his ex-wife (Famke Janssen) tells him he’s going to lose Kim if he doesn’t lighten up, Bryan reluctantly comes around, signs her paperwork, and lets her leave the country.

And so, OF COURSE, as soon as she gets to Paris, she’s promptly kidnapped by a group of Albanians who specialize in human trafficking and the sex trade.  Ain’t that always the frakkin’ way. . .

That’s about all you really need to know about the plot — unless you were born yesterday, you already know exactly where this flick is headed.   To wit: Bryan goes after her, anybody who gets in his way gets their asses kicked or killed, and blah blah blah happy ending, etc.  This movie is ridiculously predictable and, even worse, it doesn’t have much in the way of character to hold its shabby little pieces together either.

That said, it’s not completely unwatchable.  It’s sort of fun to watch Liam Neeson pretend to be Chuck Norris, for one thing, and even though I hate Maggie Grace (haaaaaate, actually), she’s not too unbearably annoying in this.  Plus, I’ll just say it:  I love Famke Janssen.  I love her.  I. Love. Her.  I have loved her ever since I first saw her in the movie Deep Rising, where she spent 106 minutes verbally sparring with ex-Boyfriend Treat Williams and physically sparring with a sea monster.  A SEA MONSTER, I said.  That’s brains and brawn, people.  Brains and brawn are my favorite.

Anyway, the husband’s comment on the movie?  “Not bad.”

I probably could’ve just made that the whole of this review and called it a day.

[Netflix me | Buy me]

Genre:  Thriller
Cast:  Liam Neeson, Maggie Grace, Famke Janssen, Xander Berkeley


10 Responses to “MOVIE: Taken (2009)”

  1. Trip Says:

    I thought the interaction between Neeson\’s character and the Britney Spears starlet was sort of interesting. They both seemed to have an understanding of each other through their soulful glances – both living lives like the cat in the proverbial roomful of rocking chairs.

    I thought the character setup in the beginning was fairly well-done and was granted some generous screen time compared to most other action flicks.

    Once the action got started, though, it was a by-the-numbers video game, right down to the local cop who gets in his way, the boo-hiss disposable Eurotrash villains, and the bossmonster slugfest at the end.

    Only this missing, really, was a freeze-frame of the entire family in mid laugh, and streaky end credits shooting in from the side.

  2. Lorraine Says:

    There is one reason that I watched this movie – Liam Neeson – and he made the movie watchable. It made me appreciate his acting ability to see him elevate this material.

    I do not understand the appeal of Maggie Grace either (maybe the only character that I was glad to see killed on “Lost”). The most noticable overacting in this film was the way she walked and flounced around like she was 13 instead of 17. But maybe that was the director’s decision.

    But if you are going to watch one Luc Besson movie it definitely has to be “The Professional” with Jean Reno and Natalie Portman. This is one of the best movies ever! Seriously, I highly recommend it. Also, everyone should see “La Femme Nikita (1990)” (not the horrid American remake “Point of No Return”). Come on Meg – I’ve steered you correctly before (remember “The Lookout”).

  3. megwood Says:

    Please, girl, I’ve seen every movie Luc Besson has ever made!

  4. Lorraine Says:

    O-Kay! Just forcing my recommendations on others 😉

  5. megwood Says:

    Wait, I thought that was MY job! “Shark Attack 3,” people: GO.


  6. Trip Says:

    Bring me everyone.

    What do you mean, everyone?


  7. megwood Says:

    I know where we can get explosives; no questions asked.

  8. Trip Says:

    I think I’ve been inspired to create a new game for your next dinner party:

    “Movies Meg Liked, or Sega Genesis Videogame?”

    Shark Attack 3: Megalodon
    Smoke Jumper
    Black Water
    Eagle Eye

    OK, well, you hated that last one as did I, but who’s counting? 🙂

  9. megwood Says:

    You should at least throw in one Sega Genesis videogame to throw people off. Might I suggest “AAAHH! Real Monsters!”?

  10. Nai Says:

    Grr… Eagle Eye. (Trying not to spoil…) Of course that’s who dunnit! Why did it take so long for them to figure it out?! Haven’t we seen this villain before and recently?! How did that character survive? I mean, really!!
    Though I think I could have somewhat suspended my disbelief for the above had the children’s band conductor actually had the remotest notion of what conducting involves and looks like. Noooooo, you don’t get to just wave your arms around in vague fashion. Seriously, nobody could play to what he did.

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