From La Femme Nikita to District B13, the French know how to make a rollicking action movie, and Taken is no different. Liam Neeson plays a former covert government agent who has his daughter (Maggie Grace) kidnapped by the Parisian sex trade. He tells his daughters abductors to let his daughter go, and if they don’t he will find them and he will kill them. “Good luck,” says the abductor. And we’re off! At this point, the movie completely had me and I was ready to watch Oscar Schindler kick all kinds of ass. Having an actor of Neeson’s caliber involved in the rigorous derring-do helps ground the fantastic coincidences and leaps of logic inherent with an action movie. The action is briskly paced (the movie barely clocks in at 91 minutes) and fairly consistent, though I admit that the movie never felt like it was building in intensity, only changing locations. There’s some lip-service paid to topical issues like sex trafficking, but really Taken is all about watching Neeson karate chop dudes in the neck, which he does a lot. I started fearing for the safety of my own neck, like Neeson would jump out of the shadows and give my neck a good punch. You may need to shut your brain off at parts, but Taken is an undeniably fun experience and I look forward to the inevitable sequels (Neeson: “What, something else has been taken… from me!”). Taken is a rock-solid action movie with plenty of terrific and thrilling set pieces that pack more punch than plenty of expensive Hollywood summer capers.
Nate’s Grade: B