After seeing the trailer forTaken months ago, I was pretty sure I knew exactly how the plot would go down. I decided to skip it. But then I found out it was rated PG-13, and then I remembered how much I liked Liam Neeson, so I finally saw it when my only other options were a movie about a girl who shops to much, and a movie about girls getting dumped (I don’t like February).
While the trailer made this seem like your average torture-porn movie, the PG-13 rating might have suggested that director Pierre Morel (Transporter) exercised a little restraint and would focus more on the plot. This is, in fact, the case. The problem is, the plot is boring.
Neeson plays Brian Mills, a retired ex-, something (he never really explains what exactly)for the government. He calls himself a ‘preventer.’ Gave his life to the job flitting around the globe, and let it destroy his marriage to sultry Famke Janssen and his relationship to his daughter Kim (played by Maggie Grace from Lost). Brians knowledge of the evil-doings in Europe make him hestitant to give Kim permission to spend the summer in Paris with her friend. As luck would have it, Kim and her buddy are kidnapped and sold into sex slavery within hours of arriving! Brian is forced to use all the dirty tricks he learned in the business to make a mess out of Paris, killing everyone that stands in the way of his daughter.
The movie provides some cool action sequences, something that Morel proved in Transporter, but like that film, there’s no character development, or interesting plot twists, just lots of violence and torture scenes (as violent as the rating would allow). Neeson was actually pretty convincing as this loser father that finally gets his chance to shine, but no one ever doubts his acting skills in the first place. The script is a doozy. It seems like it was an afterthought as soon as all the action sequences were planned. Co-written by Luc Besson and Robert Mark Kamen (who both also wrote the scripts for Transporter 3 and Bandidas…yikes), it’s insultingly ethnocentric and shamelessly self-gratifying.