So I finally saw Taken this week.
I was intriqued by this cool-looking trailer I watched:
The premise is brilliant. Brian Mills (Liam Neeson) is an ex-CIA/NSA type, who has retired in order to be closer to his daughter. She goes off to Paris on a trip, and while there gets kidnapped while she is on the phone with Daddy.
Brian Mills then says the following to the kidnapper after he picks up the phone:
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’ll be the end of it. I will not look for you, I will not pursue you. But if you don’t, I will look for you, I will find you, and I will kill you.
That is a brilliantly-written monologue, delivered with an icy deadly serious tone by the always delightful Liam Neeson. Sadly, that is the only piece of brilliant writing in the entire movie.
Here is a piece of real dialogue from the movie:
Jean Claude: Graham, you can’t just run around tearing down Paris…
Bryan: [cuts him off abruptly] Jean Claude, I’ll tear down the Eiffel Tower if I have to!
The movie takes a while to even get to the cool kidnapping scene and get our hero off on the war path. Presumably so we care about his daughter too. But his daughter is a spoiled bitch. She gets a pony for her birthday from her stepdad, and when it is presented callously throws her biological dad’s (Liam Neeson) present to the side to go ride the pony.
Then she lies to her father about wanting to visit Paris to see the museums and culture. Instead she is really going to follow U2 on tour throughout Europe. Tickets to U2 concerts are NOT cheap I don’t think I need to remind you. Then she uses her biological fathers emotional attachment to her (hey dad let’s go grab lunch, just you and me!) to get him to sign the paperwork to allow her to travel to Paris. Why should I care if his daughter is rescued?
Then the entire premise for WHY she was kidnapped is laughable. A gang of Albanians is kidnapping western girls, drugging them, turning them into prostitutes and selling them to rich sheiks. There are THOUSANDS of WILLING girls who go to the Harems of the sheiks. There is no need to spark international incidents by kidnapping people of other sovereign nations. Blond American girls are not THAT great.
Same goes for prostitution. Last time I checked there was not a prostitute shortage.
And then when our hero starts kicking ass to get his daughter back, I was expecting a bit of Sherlock Holmes. After all, this guy is HIGHLY TRAINED right? CIA/NSA or whatnot? Yet every single lead he gets to his daughter’s wherabouts involve blind luck:
- Photo taken by french guy at airport happened to have reflection
- French guy was still at airport
- Former friend in french police involved in entire thing
- Prostitute he antagonizes in paris just happens to have a pimp who is involved in his daughters disappearance
- Shipping container in construction yard just happens to have girl who borrowed his daughters jacket
- Girl he rescues from construction yard just happens to remember exact street address of house she was taken to
- When he visits that place, the same exact guy who said ‘good luck’ not only just happens to be there, but out of ALL THE MEN in the room, the ONE guy who reads Liam Neesons written statement just HAPPENS to be the SAME GUY
- When Liam Neeson is tied up about to be killed, he JUST HAPPENS to be tied up against loose pipe that is filled with hot steam
- When Liam Neeson visits the girl auction, he HAPPENS to walk in JUST as his OWN DAUGHTER is being auctioned.
Etc etc. Incredibly lazy writing, awful awful awful movie. Instead of Sherlock Holmes I get Forrest Gump.
And no offense to Liam Neeson, but at almost 60 years of age he is a bit too old to play the action hero type. I had a hard time buying he was capable of jogging a mile without hurting his knees, let alone beat up 50 men.
What really blows my mind is how many people actually liked this film? I knew it was going to be bad when we have the concert scene at the beginning where Liam Neeson is security to pop-star ‘Sheerah’ (seriously) and some dude with a knife tries to attack her.
Oh and kudos to Leland Orser for playing a role where he DOES NOT freak out for once.