Taken * * *


Director: Pierre Morel.
Screenplay: Luc Besson, Robert Mark Kamen.
Starring: Liam Neeson, Famke Janssen, Maggie Grace, Leland Orser, Jon Gries, Holly Valance, David Warshofsky, Xander Berkeley, Olivier Rabourdin, Katie Cassidy, Gerard Watkins.

What with the recent re-vamp of “The A-Team” and this successful actioner, it seems that Liam Neeson has now been re-invented as something of an aging action hero and surprisingly, it works.

Bryan Mills (Neeson) is a retired government agent, struggling to get back into the life of his teenage daughter (Maggie Grace). But after she’s kidnapped while holidaying in Paris, Bryan has less than four days to track her down before she disappears into the sex slave trade and in the process of his search, he dishes out some tough justice.

This was supposedly expected to be a straight to DVD deal but turned out to be an unexpected hit for Neeson and co. It was that well recieved that a sequel is in now in the making. You can’t go too far wrong either, when imaginative French director Luc Besson has written the story. It gets quite rediculous toward the end, but this is still a taut little thriller. Despite being full of stereotypical bad guys, who are no more than fodder for Neeson’s knuckle sandwiches, it still works. As long as you dont expect too much and just sit back and enjoy him bashing a few heads and crunching some bones. Neeson also gets to spout some tough Eastwood-esque lines…”I push one button and 38 agents are here before you have time to scratch your worthless balls.” He’s a brutal and unrelenting character but lots of fun to watch.

It is what it is, but for it sheer pace alone, it’s a cut above most of the (mindless) genre.

Mark Walker


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