Sunday, May 24, 2009

Movie Review: Taken

I saw Taken last week or maybe the week before. I got it from Netflix and got to watching it. I am a huge Liam Neeson fan. It was a little sad seeing him since it was fresh in my mind how he just tragically lost his wife and mother of his children.

I was intrigued by this movie when it was in the movie theater, but of course...not enough to plunk down a bunch of cash to see it. I like the idea of the non-traditional action hero. You know, how Bruce Willis used to be before he became the typical action hero. It's one of the things I loved most about Die Hard is that John McClain was no Schwarzenegger or Van Damme. McClain was this kind of pathetic guy who under extraordinary circumstances saves everyone with his bad ass attitude. So, anyway...when you see Liam Neeson, you don't think crazy bad ass who can kick anyone's ass. He seems pretty unassuming.

The basic storyline is that Liam Neeson is an ex-spy who retired to be closer to his teenage daughter. His daughter, his ex-wife and everyone else thinks he is paranoid and over-protective until his worst fears happen...and they learn he might just be right. Liam's character is pulled out of retirement when his daughter is kidnapped and sold into the sex industry on a "fun" trip to Europe.

I don't want to give away any more about the film than that...but let me say I thought this movie was fantastic. Of course, it had one of my constant frustrations with action films...the hero has perfect aim all the time while the bad guys seem to have the worst aim known to man. Liam's character is in a shootout with a bajillion million guys...he gets basically all of them and no one can get a decent shot of him. Realistic? No, but it's a movie. I accept it. I did love how well the told the story of women in the sex industry. It's a huge problem in a lot of areas of the world. Yes, some women are kidnapped drugged and into the industry. Some women are outright sold by their families and communities. Some women are born into the industry and don't know any different. It's going on in Europe, Africa and Mexico right now....probably other areas I am not aware of. It's not a made up issue.

All in all, I'd highly recommend this movie. It doesn't go too far, so that it is only about shock value and it hits that great action movie stride. Liam Neeson is hell bent on finding his daughter and returning her to safety. I didn't think Liam had an action movie in him. I was wrong. The part of his daughter is played by Maggie Grace who I only know from her short stint on Lost. She was not in a lot of the film since most of it was spent with Liam tracking her, but she is a constant presence.

Rent it. Watch it. It's good.