Action film outwits clichés
Human traffic themes, authentic actors refine genre
Liam Neeson stars as Bryan Mills in Taken, an action film in which he swears to kill his daughter's kidnappers. The movie's compact plot and convincing acting prevent it from becoming mundane and predictable.
After debating for a while which movie to see with my friends, we finally decided on what we expected to be a typical action movie: Taken. The movie, directed by Pierre Morel and starring Liam Neeson, did not fall short of being the 90-minute thrill ride we we had hoped for.
Early on in the story we learn that main character Bryan Mills (Neeson) has retired from his long career of espionage and secrecy, which has cost him his relationship with his daughter, Kim (Maggie Grace), and his marriage. He plans on trying to rebuild his relationship with his daughter.
Mills intends to spend as much time with Kim as he can before she goes off to college. However, she comes to him begging for his permission to let her out of her country with her friend, Amanda, to go see her cousins in Paris and visit art museums.
Both the audience and Mills soon see that Kim and her friend's intentions are not quite as simple, as they intend to follow the band U2 around on their European Tour.
At first, when Mills learns of this, he is outraged that he was lied to by both his daughter and ex-wife. However, after a little persuasion by his ex-wife, he decides to let his daughter go, still against his better judgment.
As Kim and Amanda land in Paris, they are ecstatic, and while waiting in line in they meet a young French man who offers to share a cab to keep the cost down ? and they willingly oblige. But after they leave, the helpful bystander makes a call alerting his ?superiors? of two new targets.
As the two go up to her cousin's apartment, it soon becomes evident to Kim that her friend had been lying to her the whole time and that her cousins really were not in Paris at all.
Soon mysterious unidentified criminals show up at their apartment and kidnap Amanda while Kim is watching, and talking on the phone to her father. Soon she too is taken, and in a terse exchange with one of the kidnappers over the phone, her father assures one of the kidnappers that if they do not let his daughter go, he will find them and kill them.
"For those who enjoy a traditional but not predictable action thriller, Taken is a perfect movie option." ?Ryan Swain, '10
Over the next few hours, an edge-of-your seat chase ensues, and Mills relentlessly searches for his daughter and hunts down those responsible for her kidnapping, stopping at nothing to find his daughter.
Even though a few of the actors in the movie are not widely recognized, the acting was still superb, and very convincing.
Additionally, the plot was compact as most of the story occurs over a time period of roughly 92 hours. There were very few, if any, questions that were left unanswered over the course of the movie. Perhaps this was because the basic plot was very straightforward, but still avoided becoming mundane.
The film also tackled the issue of human trafficking ? an issue that is very prevalent in European countries today ? and served as an eye-opener to a problem that is often overlooked in the grand scope of human rights issues today.
While director Morrel could have made the film focus more on this subject, some of the implications were disturbing nonetheless, while not quite warranting an R-rating. For those who enjoy a traditional but not predictable action thriller, Taken is a perfect movie option.
Taken is rated PG-13 and is now playing in theaters everywhere. For tickets, visit Fandango or for more reviews, visit Rotten Tomatoes.