Saturday, May 16, 2009

Taken: Grade C

Taken (2008)
Liam Neeson, Famke Janssen, Maggie Grace; Director Pierre Morel.

Neeson is an ex-government tough guy of unspecified type whose daughter (Grace) is kidnapped in Paris and sold into sexual slavery. He rescues her, apparently before much harm has befallen her. How he does this is not entirely clear. He just seems to know who the bad guys are and where to find them. When he does find them, he hits them with a single hand chop, which usefully renders any assailant lifeless. Despite his age, he is able to beat up whole roomsful and boatloads of young toughs in this way. Fortunately, none of them can hit a target even with a machine pistol at 6 feet, although Neeson does take a minor flesh wound late in the movie. By contrast, he never misses, felling his opponents with a single squeeze of the trigger. His body count runs over a dozen but the Paris police don’t give him any trouble. The car chases are conventional, the explosions grossly exaggerated. Music is loud orchestration designed to add excitement where the picture itself doesn’t have much. Dialog is predictable, the story unimaginative, and the acting unremarkable. This will do fine on TV.

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