JT Film Review

109 – Taken (2008)


3/5 stars

Director – Pierre Morel

Cast – Liam Neesom, Famke Janssen, Maggie Grace, Xander Berkeley, Holly Valance, Katie Cassidy


Taken is a film by French action director Pierre Morel, and starring Liam Neesom as Bryan Mills. The plot is set in motion when Mills’ daughter is kidnapped in Paris. He is told that he has approximately 96 hours to find her before she will vanish into the world of international sex trafficking. Mills, an ex-spy (or ex-CIA/Special Forces, whatever, it’s never explicitly stated) goes on the hunt in a variety chase sequences and martial arts scraps that would almost look at home in a Bourne or Lethal Weapon movie.

This movie has an air of grim determination about it that serves the movie well, and can (at last while watching the movie) help to cover up the huge coincidences and somewhat ridiculous plot points that the movie covers. Afterwards, you may find yourself wondering how some of the events that happened were plausible, or even possible. If the movie had presented itself as a fun action movie with no real purpose it would have been different, but because Taken takes itself so seriously it is a bit harder to look past all the little clichés and coincidences.

However what Taken lacks in originality and realty, it certainly makes up for just by having Liam Neesom in the lead role. Neesom’s seriousness, his slight stoop (which certainly does not suggest an action star), and even his body of work all add up to the impression of a solid main character around which Morel can use all the usual action movie tropes. Unfortunately Neesom had to bring almost all of that to the table himself, because the script really has little characterization beyond “grieving kick-ass father”. Now, having said all this I must admit that there are a couple neat little touches in the beginning of the movie that I quite liked. Neesom is ex-(fill-in-the-blank) and we see him gathering with his friends at a BBQ, and then accepting a little job as security for a pop star at a concert. This makes sense, I thought. What else would retired(whatever-they-were) do for a part-time job?


Taken is quite a cookie-cutter of a movie, but it must be said that it does what it does fairly well. Liam Neesom is largely responsible for the better parts of the film, but the action scenes are executed decently and Bryan Mills’ hunt for his daughter can even be quite thrilling. If you are a fan of action movies you will like this. If you aren’t, well, there are worse ways to spend an hour and a half, but you may want to look elsewhere.



“Taken” on other websites:

IMDB —– Rotten Tomatoes —– Wikipedia



September 9, 2010 - Posted by | 3 Stars, Film Review, Genre - Action, Year - 2000-2009 | , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

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