Ah! It’s good to get back to the basics, with Liam Neeson’s (Batman Begins) new thriller Taken. Sure we’ve heard the story before. Ex-military father’s daughter is kidnapped and sold into some kind of human trafficking ring, which then triggers those hidden “talents” the father acquired in his military days.
Taken is a perfect example of taking a simple story, sticking to the basics of what makes a good action movie, and going with that. First and foremost, they keep the camera still! Gee, what a novel concept.
Bryan Mills (Liam Neeson) is an overprotective father. He’s ex-military who still does side security jobs with some of his military buddies. Right out of the gate we see that Bryan really knows how to handle himself, when there’s an altercation at a concert where he’s working a security detail.
Bryan is trying to connect with his precocious teenage daughter named Kim (Maggie Grace, Lost). Kim lives with her mother (Famke Janssen, X-men) and her obscenely rich step-father (Xander Berkeley, 24). Bryan is extremely protective of his daughter, which is why when Kim brings up her plans of traveling to Paris with her friend, he is apprehensive.
As you can tell from the trailer, Kim is kidnapped by faceless thugs who may or may not be running a human trafficking business. When learning that his daughter has been taken, Bryan kicks into gear and flies to Paris to find his daughter. What follows is a fast-paced action thriller that doesn’t disappoint.
Liam Neeson shows that, even at his age, he can still churn out some pretty amazing fight scenes. Mills stacks up the body count as fast as Jack Bauer or John McClane. He swiftly navigates his way through the underworld of Paris gathering information on his daughter’s whereabouts and dealing with bad guys who have plenty of weaponry, but apparently have never heard of ‘target practice.’
The action scenes are tense and well filmed. The camera stays still and doesn’t resort to one-second close-up cut scenes as did Quantum of Solace and Transporter 3. The camera backs up and gives us a full view of the action. It’s nice to see the actual choreography of a well thought out fight scene rather than a rapid succession of close-up thrusting fist and flailing leg shots.