Taken (PG-13)

Action/Adventure 93 January 30, 2009
By Tim Grierson
Taken is one dumped-in-January film that’s better than it needs to be but, alas, still isn’t good enough. Retired from his job as an ass-kicking American operative to be closer to his daughter Kim (Maggie Grace), Bryan (Liam Neeson) can only listen in horror when she calls from Paris while human traffickers abduct her. Directed by Pierre Morel, whose French hit District B13 only worked when its characters were pummeling and chasing each other, Taken tells a pretty standard not-my-child! revenge story concerning Bryan’s one-man mission to bust heads in the City of Lights. As one would expect from Luc Besson and Robert Mark Kamen — the writing team behind the pleasingly ludicrous, pseudo-sophisticated Transporter series — the film gives action fans a few glimpses of picturesque international locales before the story gets down to the business of shooting, maiming and torturing vaguely foreign baddies. Neeson’s tormented weariness lends an air of dignity to the film’s pulpy, grubby nastiness, but as striking as he is in action-hero mode, the truth is that Taken doesn’t need dignity. It requires tongue-in-cheek machismo that mocks the story’s B-movie inanities while playing them to the hilt. What, was Jason Statham busy?
Pierre Morel Liam Neeson, Maggie Grace, Katie Cassidy, Famke Janssen, Xander Berkeley, Olivier Rabourdin, Leland Orser, Jon Gries, David Warshofsky, Holly Valance Luc Besson, Robert Mark Kamen Luc Besson, Pierre-Ange Le Pogam, India Osborne 20th Century Fox

Watch the Trailer

Newsletters

All-access pass to top stories, events and offers around town.

Sign Up >

No Thanks!

Remind Me Later >