Taken (2009)

taken poster

Bryan: 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. 

Bryan Mills (Liam Neeson) seems to be an elderly man that retired to be closer to his daughter. Kim (Maggie Grace) lives with her mother Lenore (Famke Janssen) and her wealthy stepfather (Xander Berkeley). On Kim’s birthday, Bryan gives her a karaoke set, and while she loves it, her stepfather’s gift of a horse vastly overshadows the thoughtful gift Bryan spent months deciding over.

Bryan agrees to do some security work with his friends to protect a pop star, Sheerah (Holly Valance) at a performance. When the crowd breaks loose and someone tries to hurt her, Bryan shows his impressive defensive skillset and saves her life and gets her to safety. Grateful, Sheerah offers her help, and the help of her assistants, to Kim, who wants to be a singer too.

Bryan plans to tell Kim what he organised for her the following day but she once again overshadows his extremely thoughtful acts. Kim and Lenore shows up to ask Bryan’s permission that Kim can travel with her friend Amanda (Katie Cassidy) to Paris to presumably see art museums. Bryan is worried, having seen how evil the world is, and rejects Kim’s pleas. Later on he agrees with a very strict set of rules: that she calls him when she lands, each night and if she plans to move location. Kim agrees, and accepts the international phone her father hands her.

At the LA Airport, Bryan discovers that Kim and Amanda are planning to follow U2 on their European tour, not visit museums. He is even more upset when he finds out Lenore knew of their plan and did not tell him. She manages to get him to still allow Kim to board the plane, assuring him that the teens will be fine.

Kim and Amanda meet Peter (Nicolas Giraud) a handsome young man at the Paris Airport. They are very excited about his interest in them, and they agree to share a taxi to save on costs. They tell him a lot about themselves, and Amanda shares that they have the flat in Paris to themselves, something Kim didn’t know about, and she is upset because she promised her father there would be some supervision. The moment Peter is alone he calls someone telling them the exact location of the two girls.

Inside the apartment, Kim gradually relaxes and starts having a good time. After using the bathroom, she notices her father tried to call her, and while talking to him assailants appear and she sees Amanda being attacked by men. She hysterically tells her father what is happening, and Bryan gets her to crawl under a bed in the closest bedroom. He tells her that they assailants are going to take her, and when they do, she should keep the call going and call out as many identifiable characteristics she can. Moments later, she is snatched from the bed and taken away. Bryan tells the person who is listening, one of the assailants, that if his daughter isn’t left alone, Bryan will find and kills them.

Back in the States, Bryan is calmly working through panic. He calls on a former colleague Sam (Leland Orser), who identifies the accents of the assailants as Albanian, and tells him that it is most likely an Albanian human trafficking ring that targets female tourists at the airport, getting them hooked onto drugs and then keeping them in prostitution. Bryan, who put this entire conversation on speakerphone in Lenore and Stuart’s house, makes sure that the successful Stuart didn’t have any enemies wanting to get back at him. When that is cleared up, he asks Stuart to organize him a plane into Paris immediately, and Lenore begs Bryan to get her back safely. He tells her that he must first find their daughter to do that.

                Bryan immediately heads to the flat where Kim and Amanda would have stayed, and investigates the signs of fighting, and quickly analyses where Kim was taken. He gets the broken phone and the memory card with the photos Kim took on, and makes Peter out in the reflection he took of them.

Bryan sees Peter at the airport, but Peter is killed by a bus before giving any helpful information. Bryan meets an old associate, Jean-Claude (Olivier Rabourdin), who is now behind a desk and sorely wishes to leave Paris whole and not suffer under Bryan’s hunt for his daughter. He does point Bryan to Porte de Chichy, where it is rumoured that the prostitution there is being run by an East European gang. Jean-Claude gets someone to tail Bryan, but Bryan is able to easily dodge him. Jean-Claude warns that Bryan will get deported if he continues with his vigilante justice, but Bryan avoids arrest when Jean-Claude tries to corner him.

Bryan gets to a brothel and finds Kim on a prostitute that is very high on drugs. Fighting off the brothel guards, he manages to get the girl to safety, and after feeding her some proper medication to help her, she reveals Kim gave it to her. She gives Bryan information about a house with a red door, and Bryan manages to track it down. There he eventually finds the man he warned on the phone, and after torturing him Marko (Arben Bajraktaraj) tells Bryan that Kim will be sold to the highest bidder at an auction.

                Will Bryan find Kim alive and whole, and most importantly, before she is sold and never seen again?

Rating: 8/10

This movie looked appealing right from the start and did not disappoint in the least. It is one of the best action movies I have watched in ages, and the storyline was solid and based on terrifying truths. I can definitely see myself watching this again; it might even become a recurring type of event.

Liam Neeson was excellent as Bryan Mills, and every punishing act he delivered was with conviction. I loved that Bryan had no qualms taking down people who were hurting his most prized possession, and that he was able to do it with so much talent.

It took me some time recognising where I had seen Famke Jansen (in Breaking Dawn) and I think the role of Kim suited her perfectly well. I had great sympathy and angst for her and Amanda, and thought that they were getting such harsh “punishment” for a simple vacation, even though Kim wasn’t completely honest with her dad about the plans for the trip.

I was eventually so pissed with Jean-Claude and how he was willing to sacrifice Kim and his friendship with Bryan just to have a comfortable lifestyle. It seemed to be a recurring theme, the “hey, it is not personal, it is business” and I especially enjoyed Patrice Saint-Clair’s demise. I mean honestly, who takes some man’s daughter into a life of horror and prostitution and expects him to see it as not personal?!

This movie made a lot of things clear:

Never mess with Liam Neeson, or his daughter,

Don’t travel alone

DON’T travel to Paris alone

DON’T speak to charming French men (is there even such a thing, Zoe?)

Travel with a big strong guy, or Liam Neeson.Have you seen Taken?

Did you love/hate it? Tell me!

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7 thoughts on “Taken (2009)

  1. Good review Natasha. This one’s pretty overrated, but I guess it has its moments. Mostly due to the fact that Neeson is such a pro at what he does.

  2. Great review bestest! Well… you DO know how I feel about the French! 😛 This was definitely a solid action flick, and I am glad you have seen it now. I really thought you had, I mean how many jokes are there pertaining to this?!

    • Thanks best one! I do hahaha.

      I’ve been meaning to for AGES and finally just watched it and WOOOOOOOOOOW had SO much fun!

      The jokes are totally justifiable in my mind. So great!

  3. Pingback: Five things Friday: Impressive movies I watched lately | Life of this city girl

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