Taken feels like one of those movies that every human of my generation has seen. Well guess what? Not me. What a surprise. So many people have seen this movie that it doesn’t really need much of an introduction, so perhaps a brief synopsis is the best way to go for those (few) of you who haven’t seen it or have been living under a rock.
Liam Neeson stars as Bryan Mills; an ex-CIA agent who is currently taking on less stressful bodyguard jobs to make some money and pass the time. Having recently gone through a divorce, he strives to see and impress his only daughter as much as possible, and agrees to let her go on a vacation to Paris with her best friend and without adult superstition. As any parent would be, Mills is apprehensive about the whole thing and it turns out that he was right to be: the girls are in France for less than 24 hours before they are abducted and taken hostage by an unknown group of criminals. I won’t say much more because it would ruin the nitty gritty plot details, but needless to say, Neeson’s spy instincts kick in and he makes it his mission to save his daughter and take out her kidnappers.
First, I need to get something off my chest. Excuse me, is that noughties Neighbours legend Holly Valance?! I came here for Famke and good old Liam Neeson as a retiree kicking butt, and I ended up getting her too. Yes bitch, get that Hollywood money 🤑
For such a short movie, I didn’t expect it to take so long to get going. However, the first 25 minutes tell you everything you need to know about the characters and their dynamics, and none of that time is wasted, which is the downfall of a lot of action movies similar to this. We are introduced to Mills’ family and how they work as a unit, their basic interests, and a short backstory into their lives… and that’s it. There’s no fluff, no faff, and no filler.
So when is the perfect time to watch Taken? You know when you want something wholly unrealistic but 100% entertaining to pass the time while your girlfriend has a nap? This is the movie for exactly that. There’s no way an ageing ex-CIA agent could do all of this on his own, and yet I didn’t give a fuck. Exciting action sequences with strong combat choreography and high speed car chases? Count me in.
Where Taken thrives more than most movies cut from the same cloth is that it has an emotional connection running through the whole thing; this isn’t just a missing person, it’s the main character’s missing daughter. Neeson’s Bryan is strong yet sensitive and altogether easy to root for as a result of that, and it makes for a riveting thriller. Of course, casting Neeson in the first place is a master stroke: you can’t help but like the guy.
Is it the best movie ever made? Obviously not. There’s nothing pretty or outstanding about it either. But it’s a pure piece of solid entertainment that doesn’t mess around. The plot is basic, but that doesn’t matter; Taken knows its place and doesn’t overstay its welcome.
Will I watch Taken 2? Maybe. Taken 3?…… Still maybe.
Taken is available to stream on Disney+ in the UK.
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