Top critical review
Great premise, but the execution is lacking
on January 4, 2013
A parent's protective, desperate fury is a fantastic vehicle for justifying the kind of unabashed mayhem and destruction that Taken delivers. Liam Neeson channels righteous anger in very focused ways, making some of the questionable things his character does seem purposeful, despite running counter to what the ideal action hero would do.
The primary story of an abducted daughter, kidnapped on a trip her estranged father felt was too dangerous in the first place, almost would have performed better against a generic backdrop of "some other city". The unique character of Paris and the foreign way that police and intelligence matters are handled served as unnecessary distractions.
At the end of the day, the design of the movie feels like a good idea hijacked by movie execs. Light spoiler alert, but as an example, the movie's hero moves mainly unscathed through numerous violent encounters with villains until, surprise, the super-evil and smarmy looking second-in-command manages to wound him in a gunfight. Fear not, as he was ruthlessly, but justifiably, stabbed by his own knife/impaled on a stick/thrown down a well. Honestly, I can't remember as I had really started to lose interest in the specifics by this point, but I hope you get the general idea.
Taken is probably best watched when you're at home, sick with the flu, passing in and out of consciousness from the lingering effects of last night's Ny-Quil. It's not horrible by any stretch, but ends up as a bit of a disappointment.