Best Poster of the Year by far.

Year Released: 2008
Directed by: Pierre Morel
Starring: Liam Neeson, Famke Janssen, Maggie Grace, an alarming amount of French/Albanian Terrorists
Production Company: 20th Century Fox
Release Date: Jan 30, 2009

If there’s a lesson to be learned from Taken, the white knuckle thrill a minute movie, it’s this: Do not, under any circumstance, fuck with Liam Neeson.

That’s right Heir Schindler himself is ex-CIA operative Bryan Mills, the killing machine set off by the kidnap and sale of his daughter to an Albanian sex trade ring. He stops at nothing to find his daughter, and you believe he’s justified in getting the information necessary, and punishing the people responsible. I could be partial to this, as the most difficult scene for me to watch was his utter helplessness but cool demeanor when his daughter informs him there are people trying to kidnap her. During that harrowing phone conversation however, Mills is able to pick up enough information through his auditory senses and actually speaks to one of the assailants and issue perhaps one of the most bone chilling threats ever uttered on the silver screen:

“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 are a very 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’ll 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.”

Between that quote, and the poster itself, some sort of Oscar hardware should be handed out for sheer bad-assery. Of course, this is considered a mindless action movie of the variety that could only be churned out in the same fashion as The Transporter series, or perhaps at some level of The Professional. It certainly works for me.

If you tell me where she is, I’ll give you a copy of DarkMan

Speaking of The Professional, you’ll notice that this penned by Luc Besson himself. There much of the same themes in the main character: he’s a professional, the best at what he does, and has ruthless methods. The other common theme between the two pictures is that lead actor is a quiet, unassuming male respected for other works than mindless action. Hats off to Besson and the production company for lassoing Neeson in, as anyone else would have sounded corny or comedic in their interpretation of the lines. Part of me wondered why someone of Neeson’s status as leading dramatic man decided to play the part. After watching the movie however, you can tell he brings all his acting chops with him in every scene. And it’s bloody brilliant on his part. I prefer the brand of highly competent, highly professional action hero that has been churned out in the last five years (Such as the Bourne Series), compared to the eighties cigarette smoking, testosterone filled, one-liner quips spouted off at the correct moment hero I grew up on. The maturity is needed to fill the void left over by the cocky actioneers and violent ways, the newer breed actually have goals and aren’t willing to bend their ways to get them.

Next time, I’ll use a light saber on your ass!

I can’t say enough about Liam Neeson, he’s just so damn good as the guy who pulls out all the stops to get his daughter back. As a new father to a daughter myself, I identify with his character. I’d do everything in my power to achieve the same end, and if I had the same skill sets and knowledge Bryan Mills had, I’d tear down the Eiffel tower myself to get back what was mine. He brings an additional weight to his performance that Taken would otherwise would have been without, and become straight to DVD fodder. The action might be mindless, but the motivation is clear, and watching the straightforward Liam-beats-the-ever-loving-daylights-out-of-people-plot is well worth money.

8.5 out of 10