720 of 742 people found the following review helpful
on May 15, 2009
When I was a soldier stationed in Germany in the 1970s there was a raid on a Turkish-owned bar on the outskirts of Frankfurt A/M. German Polizei and US CID (US Army Criminal Investigation Division) broke up a white slavery ring that had been operating out of the bar for some time. The bar was a way-point in the transportation route of young European girls (preferably blonde) who had been kidnapped throughout Europe and were being smuggled to be sold in the harems and brothels of the Middle and Far East. The police found some twenty girls in the basement of the bar, some from as far away as Denmark and the Netherlands, waiting to be shipped further down the pipeline.
The German police and Interpol had been watching the bar for some time and were hoping to trace the route farther down the track to take down the ringleaders. The white slavers made the mistake of kidnapping the daughter of a US Army colonel whom they thought was a German national. The Colonel learned about the investigation and refused to allow his daughter to be held by the white slavers and victimized so the police could gather intelligence. As it turned out, I learned later, the raid eventually did lead to the disruption of this particular ring because the guys busted talked.
So, when I learned what this film was about I went in with a certain amount of understanding of the subject matter. Let me say here that this film hits the nail on the head in presenting its subject matter and the way young women are victimized by ruthless animals only out to make a buck. (SPOILER) The scenes where they show the young women being made into drug addicts to control them are particularly disturbing to me as I've seen the impact drugs had on young girls working as unlicensed street walkers in Germany (a nation that legalized prostitution to make it "safe"). As disturbing as the film was I am glad I watched it and if I had a daughter (I had all sons) I would make her watch this film when she reached an appropriate age in hopes it would make her more careful in how she behaved when I wasn't around to protect her. This is a film every parent should watch - it is a film every teenaged girl and boy should watch. It's sad, but things like what happens to the girls in this movie go on every day.
Having said that, the next question is, is the movie good?
Well, I've never seen Liam Neeson deliver a bad performance. Even if I didn't like the movie (and he's done a couple turkeys) he has always been superb. No exception here. Sadly, most of the negative comments about this film seem to be from people who don't like action movies. But Neeson elevates this even above the typical action movie. This is a story of family. When I watched Neeson's reaction to what happens to his daughter and his response I imagine it is what Natalie Holloway's daddy wishes he could have done, what every father of a child who has been abducted and brutalized wish they could do.
As a professional soldier and former martial arts instructor I find Neeson's action scenes are superbly executed and realistic. Don't look for a superhero leaping tall buildings with a single bound, but watch an expert, who may not be as young as he once was, doing what he knows best for a good cause. The fights are brutal, ruthless, and efficient, pros doing what they do. Even the violence is understated, brutal, but avoids the spectacular many audience have come to expect. What Neeson does is violent but considering the circumstances and motivation, necessary to save his girl. Great stuff.
The alleged coincidences do not strain or insult the intelligence overmuch, this is an action movie for folks who think. Of course, if you thought "The English Patient" deserved the Best Picture Oscar you'll probably hate this film. Otherwise, it is a don't miss. Neeson brings to the revenge flick empathy and gravitas lacking in other such films.
As I watched the film I thought of that Army colonel fighting Interpol and the German police to save his daughter. I hope he was able to see this film, I think he'd approve.
160 of 166 people found the following review helpful
on May 18, 2009
This is a review for the 2 disc version:
Taken blew me away. It's a tight, well written action flick. Luc Besson wrote and produced this and the character building of Bryan (Neeson) reminds me a lot of "The Cleaner" in Leon: The Professional, which was an earlier work of Besson's. The action reminds me of the Bourne series but more satisfying in a way than Bourne. The first 30 minutes is awkward. But a lot of what Besson writes is awkward, but charmingly awkward. The extended cut is the European cut. They decided the American audience couldn't handle some of the scenes. There is NO nudity in this film at all and none in the extended cut.
But what you get on the 2-disc version and not on the 1-disc is the following:
"The Making of 'Taken'" (18:22) - a featurette of the making of.
"Avant Premiere" (4:37) - video of the premier night in Paris
"Inside Action: Side by Side Comparisons" (11:05) - what it says
Plus, two tracks of commentary.
The second disc is nothing but the digital copy which is extremely annoying.
Is the 2-disc worth it? If you are a hardcore fan of Taken, then yes. If not, then buy the 1-disc cause that also has the extended cut. Buying the 2-disc is worth it for the commentary and 18 minute featurette.
For me, the let down was the acting by Maggie Grace, but I'm not sure it's her fault. She is in real life a 25 year old woman and here she is unconvincingly playing a 17 year old teenager. I'm not saying she's a bad actor...she just doesn't pull off the age thing right. Her portrayal doesn't kill the film, and at times she nails it but at others it's just weird. They should have gotten an actress closer to 17 in real life. Even the ending was not realistic but I'm not sure it was Grace's fault. But at the same time she only endured the ordeal for less than 96 hours so I guess she might not be as traumatized as one would think she should be.
Taken is a solid popcorn flick. One you can watch and have fun with and it gets the nerves going too.
187 of 199 people found the following review helpful
on May 13, 2009
This is one of those great action movies where the hero isn't burdened by doubt, ineptitude, or guilt. He knows what he has to do and he does it coolly and ruthlessly! What he does is kill bad guys... Lots and lots of bad guys of all nationalities, races, and creeds who deserve what they get. Very efficient and ecumenical...
I lost count, but Liam Neeson must have killed about 50 bad guys in this one. And they keep on spawning so he has more to kill. I haven't seen one hero take on so many bad guys who keep on reproducing since Steven Segal made "Hard to Kill"...
The action is non-stop and the retribution is very satisfying. There is a lot of violence, but this is not an explicit blood and gore film. Just good old Hollywood movie violence that hits you at the gut level. "Taken" is a nice vicarious vigilante thrill for all the rest of us who must play by the rules. Liam Neeson does an excellent job! Highly recommended for action fans...
59 of 64 people found the following review helpful
on February 22, 2009
The US version of this movie is a little different than the one released overseas (I specifically remember two fairly violent scenes that were edited out), but it's still amazing. I remember watching the trailer in the theater and leaning over to my friends with a look of glee and amazement. We all knew we were going to see that movie on opening night.
And we did.
It did not disappoint.
It takes a minute to get rolling, but I think it only felt that way because the movie is so short (I think it's about an hour and a half long). It doesn't feel like very long, though, as, once the action starts, it blows you away. It's quick, gritty camera angles that really make the film come alive. Some of the violence is so out there, yet realistic, that you have to cringe when you watch it.
At it's heart, it's about a man, desperate to find and save his daughter, and willing to employ any means necessary to get her back. As the title of this review suggests, it's a little like 24 - okay, a LOT (with one scene ripped straight out of day 5, fans will know what I'm talking about), the man's daughter's name is Kim and she's been kidnapped and he's gotta do crazy bad things to get her. It's enough to hold me over until the real 24 movie is out, BUT, it's good enough in its own right.
I love Liam Neeson in this role, if only because I was surprised that he could pull it off. I kept hearing Aslan as he was making death threats and it was a little disconcerting. But he makes me believe he's Brian Mills in every second of the movie. The only thing I didn't believe was that he and Lenor were ever married. They just didn't click. At all. Maybe it's good that they divorced!
It's definitely worth the rent, but even more so, it's worth the buy. I can't wait until it's released on DVD.
104 of 117 people found the following review helpful
on April 3, 2009
I was skeptical when I heard that this movie would be produced by Luc Besson (The Professional, La Femme Nikita), the go to man or the French Joel Silver of action movies since some of his films have been hit and miss. This turns out to be a hit (it's already grossed $143 million thus far) thanks to the casting of Liam Neesom (Schindler's List; Rob Roy). A physically imposing actor of great presence, Neesom brings this physicality to the role of an retired CIA man brought back into action when his daughter is kidnapped in Paris. What ensues is 97 minutes of breakneck action and Neesom is totally convincing in this role. It may lack the complexity of the Bourne series but if you like your action movies to be lean and mean--this is the flick to see!!
26 of 28 people found the following review helpful
on May 12, 2009
This movie had me hooked from the previews. Then I thought...I wonder if the extended previews pretty much showed the whole movie. But I still decided to see it, plus we had a gift card! :) Well, it was much better than I expected. It showed what a father would do to search for his daughter. Of course there is action. You gotta expect that, right? But Liam Neeson showed great skill in his craft as an actor. . .and well, as fighting as someone who is supposed to have that kind of skill. Great flick. Fight scenes are not cheesy. If any martial artist saw this movie, they would appreciate the "simplicity of complicated techniques" when he fights. I don't want to ruin the movie for you. This is just a must see. Don't waste your time renting and just buy it. That's my opinion. Enjoy!
53 of 62 people found the following review helpful
on June 28, 2009
Yeah, I got my movie, it was GREAT! but was fooled into thinkin that I was gonna get lots of bonus features with it being a 2 disc DVD in all. And there was nothin "extended" about the unrated version, there were no scenes in the movie I haven't see already, so that sucked. I could've gotten the 1 disc and not missed anything, the 2nd disc is nothin but a digital copy! I didn't need that. Sneaky and false, and sheisty DVD packaging companies! They tell you 2 disc extended edition to make some extra cash off people, they trick you into spendin the extra dollars because you think you're gettin somethin extra than the 1 disc, it's nothin! PLEASE BE CAREFUL YOU READ EVERY WORD BEFORE YOU BUY, BECAUSE THEY HOPE THAT YOU GET FOOLED!
13 of 13 people found the following review helpful
on May 13, 2009
For the few who gave it bad reviews I say relax man, it's a movie not a documentary. I found the movie to be interesting and entertaining. Besides, I always like to see the bad guy get his due. One of the most memorable parts of the movie was his line about having special skills, I will find you, and I will kill you. I thought Liam did a good job portraying his character. It had a good ending as well and that's always cool, for me at least. I and my wife sat there watching the movie and just went for the ride it took us on. In all, I just plain liked the movie.
15 of 16 people found the following review helpful
on May 15, 2009
Former government operative Bryan Mills (Liam Neeson) had given up his career as a so-called "preventer" to be close to his daughter Kim (Maggie Grace). Even though Bryan joins his former colleagues for side jobs to make ends meet, he spends most of his time to be a part of his daughter's life again. Soon, Bryan gets hit hard when Kim requests permission to go to Paris with her friend Amanda (Katie Cassidy). Knowing what dangers lie ahead in a foreign country, he says no at first, but Kim's disappointment leads him to a reluctant yes. Soon after they land, Bryan's fears are soon realized when Kim and her friend get abducted by unknown assailants from their apartment - in broad daylight. Before getting dragged away, she phones Bryan and starts leaving him clues. This begins the longest 96-hours of his life - a hunt that will take him to the deepest, darkest corners of Paris and face unbelievable nightmares worse than he experienced in black ops. And Bryan will make sure that no one will stop him from saving his daughter.
What can I say? This is one hell of a roller coaster ride from beginning to end! This is Liam Neeson at his best! Taken delivers on the action, drama and suspense it promises. There is never a dull moment! My favorite part of the movie was when his daughter gets abducted, the assailant picks up her phone and Liam tells him:
"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."
This will easily be one of the most memorable movie quotes for many years to come. Phenomenal movie!
Other than some grainy shots in a few scenes, the PQ is perfect. Nice, sharp gritty picture.
Whoa mama! Fox sure knows what to give its customers - a reference quality audio experience that can deliver. This can easily be used for a demo display to showcase the power of high definition surround sound. Remarkable and flawless!
If you are a Liam Neeson fan, this is a must own! If you love action, drama and suspense, you must own this! One of the best action movies of 2009!
19 of 22 people found the following review helpful
My favorite Clint Eastwood line from all of his movies was from the film "Absolute Power" when he says "when you went after my little girl, well that was completely unacceptable" Every daddy of a daughter, I think can relate that there is nothing that would be off limits in getting your daughter out of similar circumstances as portrayed in the film. Most of us would lack the skills and resources to pull off the heroics, but not the resolve.
Liam Neeson is still a great action hero, my wife and I have loved him since we first watched "Rob Roy" many years ago, and he is flawless here as a retired agent who wants nothing as bad as having a relationship with his daughter before it's too late.
"I was a preventer."
"What what did you prevent?"
"I prevented bad things from happening"
This is a great action movie!