What do Liam Neeson and Carl Lee Hailey have in common? You don't want to f*ck with their daughters.
I had high hopes for this flick. The trailer was one of the better ones I have seen in a while. When I saw it was co-written by Luc Besson, I was more intriqued by it. Besson created The Professional, which along with Immortal Beloved is Gary Oldman's best work.
Neeson's character is "Bryan," a man with a particular set of skills that you don't want to piss off. Famke Jansen plays his wet blanekt/ex-wife who got tired of being home alone with their daughter, Kim (Maggie Grace - you may know her as the sister who fell in love with Sayid before being shot by Ana Lucia), so she left him and married a rich-ass "Stuart" (played by Xander Berkeley or "George Mason" for you 24 fans).
Bryan was evidently part of a CIA wetwork team or something, a job he describes to his daughter as being a Preventer, preventing bad things from happening. After some initial set up to let us see how estranged Bryan is from his daughter (although I don't think they do a very good job with it), the real story gets rolling. Kim and her slutty, blond Hills/Tara Reid friend say good buy to a reluctant Neeson (who is worried about letting two 17 year olds go to Paris) and run down the terminal (like retards I may add...seriously, what 17 year old girls act this stupid) and hop a plane to gay Paris.
On landing, a wonderfully nice, good-looking french guy offers to help them take a picture, then split cab fare, then take them to a party. I don't think its much of a spoiler alert to tell you this guy is setting them up. So they get taken while Kim is on the phone with Bryan and Liam Neeson channels his inner Carl Lee Hailey.
So what did we think? We both gave it two thumbs up. In fact, I thought it was pretty damn good for a couple of reasons. The biggest thing about these movies is, we love it when a guy is simply a straight-up, bad ass. And Neeson plays a good one.
I hate in action movies, when they feel the need to build drama, by having the hero struggle so mightily. You know, when he gets shot or stabbed multiple times and just about beat to shit before saving the day. Or when he has successfully whipped 4-5 guys in every scene up until the end, then he can barely beat that last one guy. Well, Besson and company ingored that tired route. No, Bryan is bad ass, and these petty thugs, no matter how organized they be, are no match for a trained professional. One of my favorite scenes in all moviedom is when William Munny, killer of women and children, asks who owns the bar, then shoots Skinny dead without so much as blinking an eye when he comes forward. There are several cold moments like that in this movie.
In fact, there are several minor things in this flick that you think would happen in this standard genre, but they do not. Personally, I think Besson set it up like that to add some drama. I don't want to spoil anything, lets just say Bryan was part of a team and we find that out early on.
Anyway, Taken was pretty good. In fact, it may get a second viewing.