As psychologically interesting it is to see what a father would do to save his daughter, I don’t really want to see something like that actually happen. Alas, the new action film “Taken” practically rubs that in your face in the TV spots.
Genial Liam Neeson, who gave an amazing performance in Schindler’s List, plays a retired CIA agent, slightly down on his luck. He’s divorced and his ex-wife (X-Men and GoldenEye‘s Famke Jensen) married a really rich guy. While he was working for the CIA, he spent little time with his daughter (Maggie Grace), something he is trying to make up for now. He settles for taking jobs as a security man.
As an extremely overprotective father, the last thing you would want to ask him is to go on a trip to France unsupervised. But she does any way. After a long thought, Daddy says yes. When she and her friend get to France, they meet a French hunk who invited them to a party later. You should know what happens next. Some other men come up and kidnap her and her friend.
The next words spoken are dark and very powerful, words Neeson has only seconds to say before his daughter is gone: “Whoever you are, if you are looking for money, I don’t have any. What I do have is a particular set of skills that I have acquired over a period of years that make life for people like you hell. I will find you and I will kill you.” Neeson, who, at first look, doesn’t look like your everyday action star, makes a great one. His movements are realistic in a dramatic and now action sense. The pace is amazingly quick and each scene passed one by one without looking back. The choreography for the fight scenes is spectacular. And sense and coherency is something that is not necessary in enjoying the film. It is simply an adrenaline filled thrill ride.
Now, having said that, just because its production quality is top notch does not mean I want to sit through 100 minutes of a rampaging father. As I said before, it is certainly interesting from a psychological perspective. Taken is far from the first film to explore what people will do when they know their loved ones are harmed. There’s the Vengeance Trilogy from Japan; there’s Ingmar Bergman’s The Virgin Spring; which was remade by horror maestro Wes Craven as the violent exploitation film The Last House on the Left, recently remade again in 2009; there’s even Star Wars Episode III: Revenge of the Sith. Those other times, as classic or wretch worthy as they were, were not pleasant to watch. If you enjoy high octane action films, this is for you. If you are too emotionally vulnerable, this isn’t for you.