I love Liam Neeson. I can’t think of anything I didn’t like the man in. If it were up to me the next movie in the Batman franchise should bring him back. With all that being said I knew immediately after seeing the trailer for Taken it was a movie for me. It reminded me of the movies I loved such as The Bourne Trilogy and The Professional (Leon). Unflinching action delivered from a high trained individual hell bent on finding/protecting someone. To top it all off that individual is played by an actor of high caliber. Taken delivers on several levels for this type of movie, all but one… an emotional connection.
Liam Neeson’s character tries nonstop to rescue his daughter from the people who kidnapped her. He feels this intense need to be there for his daughter, but for her entire life up to this point he was an absentee dad and had no intimate memories with her. I don’t get it. Why does he care? Can we at least get a reason why he retired to be with her? Something had to spur this on. In The Professional, Leon develops this amazing relationship with this little girl that borders on love through an intense shared experience. This explains his not wanting to abandon this girl. In the Bourne movies, Jason falls in love with this girl in the first movie, through an intense shared experience, one which pushes him to protect her so much so that by the second one he seeks revenge for her death. In both movies we share these experiences so the emotional basis is there to justify the actions. Not so in Taken.
This is unfortunate because the movie flows really well once the daughter is kidnapped. I can see where Luc Besson was going with this, but it doesn’t feel like it was thought through all the way because if she was just any other girl I don’t think it would have made a difference in the movie. As a director Pierre Morel should’ve seen this and delved deeper. Luc Besson does come through with an action filled script that had me shocked at moments throughout the film. If you are a fan of Besson’s films you will enjoy Taken but otherwise this one will fall to the way side and like most people you will end up seeing it on DVD or a movie channel.
Oh and the girl who plays his 17 year old daughter acts like a 14 year old. Terrible acting on her part, but she isn’t there for too long and Liam more then makes up for it.