Taken: Movie Review

Monday, November 21, 2011

This is, in my opinion one of the best action packed film I've ever seen for the last years. I also love Liam Neeson. I totally recommend this to parents who has teenager kids, especially high school to college students as well. Most of the time, we neglect some of the important reminders our parents is giving to us. Like "Don't talk to strangers." "Don't go home late.." and more. 

I don’t know who you are, I don’t know what you want. If you are looking for ransom, I can tell you I don’t have money. But what I do have are a very particular set of skills – skills I have acquired over a very long career, skills that make me a nightmare for people like you. If you let my daughter go now, that will be the end of it. But if you don’t, I will look for you. I will find you. And I will kill you. - Bryan Mills
As the movie opens, the hero of the story, a divorced ex-CIA operative named Bryan Mills (Liam Neeson), is already paranoid about his 17-year old daughter, Kim (Maggie Grace) traveling to Paris for the first time with only one other friend, Amanda (Katie Cassidy - Gossip Girl star & also starred in Monte Carlo). After initially refusing to sign consent for her to travel as a minor without parental supervision, he reluctantly agrees thinking that this may be his chance to bond with his estranged daughter since he has moved closer to her in L.A. although she has told more than a few lies to be able to slide past Bryan’s seemingly overbearing paranoid assumptions. Then, when she arrives in Paris and while on the phone with her, he overhears her being taken away by some group of men. 

The initial introductions of Bryan attempting to reconnect with his daughter and his ex-wife, Lenore (Famke Janssen), who is now married to Stuart (Xander Berkeley) but still mad at him for sacrificing his family for his covert job are no doubt a little bit hokey. But the movie quickly shows that it means business once Neeson’s Bryan gives his ultimatum to a kidnapper on the phone he overhears, assuredly warning them that he will find and kill them with all the skills he has acquired. As he quickly hears from a spy analyst friend, Sam (Leland Orser) that the kidnapper is part of a sex trade trafficking mob, he finds he has only 96 hours to find his daughter or else she will likely never be found.

Once Bryan flies into Paris, the movie becomes a nonstop ride in which the kidnappers can barely blink before they can figure out Bryan’s next move. 

This movie accurately depicts aspects of sex trafficking. In real life, traffickers do target naïve girls traveling alone, befriend them and capture them. They take the girls to holding places, and then sell them into the sex trade. They force drugs on the girls and condemn them to awful living conditions. This is a sad truth, even here  in the Philippines, it is still very rampant. 

But the movie, though dark with a heavy theme and saturated with violence and profanity, nevertheless shimmers with Hollywood dazzle. In real life, it would be almost too impossible for a father to hunt down his daughter, killing everyone in his path in his effort to rescue her, most fathers would not have the strength and skills that Bryan Mills has to even face up to these nasty, brutish human traffickers. And in reality, girls are usually immediately violated, humiliated, and forced into submission physically and sexually.

Taken dramatically communicates a harsh reality, but the continuous brutality is disturbing, particularly for those unaccustomed to violent portrayals. Kim’s father eliminates his adversaries by shooting, breaking necks, and torture. But the violence does show how nearly impossible it would be in real life to rescue a loved one from human traffickers. Really, sad truth, and for some worst scenarios, some parents, due to poverty, even parents trade their very own daughters just to earn money. 

My favorite scene in the movie is towards the beginning, after Bryan gives his ultimatum to a kidnapper on the phone, the kidnapper says smirking, “Good luck.” When the phrase is repeated again later, the villains don’t even have the time to wipe off the smirk after Bryan Mills asked this hoodlum to translate an Albanian word which is "Good luck" in English. :) Totally love that scene. :)

Watch the trailer here:

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