Quantcast
become a Patreon patron

film criticism by maryann johanson | since 1997

Taken (review)

It doesn’t quite live up to the promise of that most awesomest of trailers, but almost. After a slow start — though one that’s quite charming, actually, in how it creates a tender, tentative relationship between ex-hardass spook Liam Neeson (Seraphim Falls) and the 17-year-old daughter (Maggie Grace: The Jane Austen Book Club) he’s trying to reconnect with — the action kicks in, as she finds herself kidnapped by Bad Men during a trip to Paris and Dad resolves to kick some Bad Men butt to get her back. He is coolly competent, like MacGyver on steroids — he can hotwire a car, run an IV, torture a villain, and look great doing it — and far more shockingly ruthless than we expect from our action heroes. It all moves so swiftly and so surely that you never realize how ridiculous it is at the time. It’s only after that you go, Hmmm, and note how retro its ideas about feminine “purity” are — the movie revels in taunting us with the possibility of Daddy’s Little Girl being ravished unless he can save her in time. Neeson stops, at one point, in a little photo booth in a Metro station to do the kind of photo enhancement that a movie mere years ago would have had performed by a geek explaining what he was doing at every step of the way. How far the technologies available to our cinematic heroes have come! And how not far at all have advanced the moral atmosphere he navigates. Thank god for Neeson’s tough proficiency — and Grace’s unforced sweetness — making it all so much better than it probably deserves to be.


When you purchase or rent almost anything from Amazon US, Amazon Canada, Amazon UK, and iTunes (globally), you help support my work at Flick Filosopher. Please use my links when you’re shopping at either service. Thank you!

watch at home


MPAA: rated PG-13 for intense sequences of violence, disturbing thematic material, sexual content, some drug references and language

viewed at a private screening with an audience of critics

official site | IMDb | trailer
more reviews: Movie Review Query Engine

If you’re tempted to post a comment that resembles anything on the film review comment bingo card, please reconsider.

Share via
Copy link
Powered by Social Snap