Movie #6: Taken

I put off seeing Taken because I find kidnapping stories a bit too tense with the emotional stakes involved. Plus, there’s always some weepy mother who won’t let the hero take the risks needed to get the victim back. Anyway, that’s what I expected, so I was in no rush to see Liam Neeson play Bryan Mills, the victimized dad (but in this case he’s not the victim but the aggressor). Like Mel Gibson before him, he tries to turn the tables on the people who have kidnapped his daughter (played by the always spoiled and whiny Maggie Grace — you’re getting typecast!). Apparently he has been doing these kinds of “ops” all his career, so now that he’s retired, he’s itching to flex his counter-terrorist muscles again. I liked the premise of the quasi-ordinary guy fighting back against contemporary forces of evil, but I got disappointed as gradually things didn’t shape up like I expected. Neeson’s character was supposedly a semi-normal guy, but he might as well have been Jason Bourne for all his ability to deal the deadly blow, shoot with perfect precision, survive nasty bumps and scrapes, and always stay one step ahead of the baddies. Once he left the normal world and entered the realm of the action hero, it was just another one of those movies with all their required suspension of disbelief. It didn’t help that what happened to his daughter was so exotic as well. It would have made more sense if she had been robbed or taken for ransom. The other unbelievable thing is the fact that while posing as a French government agent or police officer, he just goes around speaking English. Paris may be cosmopolitan, but they still like to speak their native French there! Anyway, the movie was enjoyable after I got past those sticking points; and 58-year-old Neeson can handle himself as an action hero. But it still seemed like a bit of a mixed bag (3.5 out of 5)

6 down, 44 to go!


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