Friday, March 6, 2009

Taken [2008]

Director: Pierre Morel
Starring: Liam Neeson, Famke Janssen, Maggie Grace
Points: 70 out of 100
Rating: Teen (violence, gangsterism)
Comment: "Too many coincidences although the fast pace of the film disguised that fact..."

It is good to see Liam Neeson in an action movie once more. Not only that, his characterisation of the protagonist will remind audience of his role as the anti-hero, Darkman. Few other are able to do what he is able to do, and that is injecting dramatic elements into an otherwise one-dimensional action hero.

The tagline itself is pretty much what the entire movie is all about, Liam Neeson plays a retired CIA agent whose life after his services to the government left him nothing but a lonesome life - although all of these are told through dialogues between characters. After his daughter was kidnapped by a syndicate that specialises in trafficking women, he needs to summon his inner demons once more to rescue her.

With Luc Besson's name in the credits, rest assured that this is going to be a decent action flick. Unfortunately, however, those who are not interested in the action genre will not even be remotely impressed by the film because nothing in particular stands out. Sure, the action is good; makes you wonder if this is how a retired Jason Bourne movie would be like. But it lack the intensity of classic action movies such as Terminator II: Judgment Day [1991].

The use of action-hero-formula also makes you unable to resist to urge to root for the hero. The formula here is; the hero gets trashed first by everyone around him, but later, he becomes the only hope for those who resent him in the first place. In the hands of a charismatic and fatherly actor, this makes for one memorable action hero. The only problem is the truth behind the big screen. At 57, veteran actor Liam Neeson is probably too old to be believable as a badass mofo. Which is why the action (i.e fight scenes) are a tad fast, disguising the fact that they are possibly using stunt doubles.

All in all, Taken is a good action film considering that there is a lack of good action flicks lately. For action-junkies, this is a must.

Points Calculation

The Good [+100]
- Good plot
- Fast action
- Liam Neeson

The Bad [-30]
- Feels like a string of coincidences

100 - 30 = 70 points

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