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 is a 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 will 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.
With these few lines of dialogue, the stage is set for Taken. You pretty much know where you are going to end up as you step into the theater, but this is a kind of movie where you want to go along for the ride nonetheless.
Directed by Pierre Morel, Taken stars Liam Neeson as Bryan Mills, presumably an ex-government agent who has retired in California to live close to his daughter to make up for all the lost time while he was away while on active duty.
Mills is a loving father who is estranged from his wife (Famke Janssen), and all he seems to live for is to be there for his daughter. When she decides to go on a trip to Paris, all goes astray, thus calling the retired agent back into action to rescue his own kin. That is basically the premise, and the story of the entire movie, and hundreds of other action movies before this.
The notion of Neeson, however, playing an action hero, the gun-toting, car-chasing, thrashing, assassinating kind (think James Bond), is quite dubious, and indeed, left a big question mark in my head. Make no mistake; there are no doubts about his acting capabilities. One has only to see films like Michael Collins, Rob Roy and Love Actually to know that this is an actor who is certainly one of the best at his craft, the kind of character actor who seems to be Shakespearean-trained.
So to find out that Mr. Neeson stars in a relatively generic action movie might catch some by surprise. No need to worry. Thankfully, this wall-to-wall action film is salvaged by Neeson's dignified presence. And those first lines of dialogue above could not have been uttered with more seriousness or authority than Neeson himself.
The action is not bad itself. It never stops, and you are kept to the edge of your seat, thanks to the script and production by Luc Besson of the Transporter series fame.
But it would be hard to imagine watching this film in the hands of a less capable actor than Liam Neeson. And to think that audiences would have had to wait for 2011 for his rumored portrayal of Abraham Lincoln in collaboration with Steven Spielberg. Taken is definitely worth watching for both the action and the lead actor. Liam Neeson has proven that he, too, can take up the mantle of an action hero and give the others a run for their money. If you are tired of seeing plot-twisted action movies that leave you scratching your head and long for a straight-ahead action film, see this soon.Powered by Sidelines