As a father of a child, I now get to live the nightmarish world of the "what if" zone. "What if" something happens to my child (ie. kidnapping, death etc.) It definitely isn’t a fun zone to be in, and lucky for me it is going to last the rest of my life, huzzah!
Taken brings us into the world of Brian Mills, a former CIA spy, played by Liam Neeson whose teenage daughter is kidnapped when she goes on an unsupervised trip to France and sold into a drug infested sex slavery ring (sorta like Hostel, but not scary). We get to see Neeson, basically live out my dream of retribution and revenge on those who took his daughter.
Now I haven’t seen any of the Charles Bronson Death Wish movies which are supposed to be the genesis of these revenge type films, but I was hoping for a lot more rage and revenge filled carnage in the film. At its best, Taken is a Bourne Identity version of Man on Fire , both the Scott Glenn (1987) and Denzel Washington (2004) versions.
Where I feel Taken falls short much like I did in Man on Fire is from the lack of brutality. When I watch the movie I took it in the perspective of a father, so I wanted the bad guys not only to die, but to die slowly and painfully regretting the moment they took my boy…I mean Liam Neeson’s daughter. See what I mean? I live too vicariously through the film, and while I was entertained I was definitely left not satisfied.
I mean, these men are highly trained killers, who are made out in the films to be mean sons of bitches and are good at what they do, so what the hell are they doing letting some of the bad guys live?
I expected more from these parent characters when the one thing that they hold dear (daughter, or little girl that lets them see their own humanity) is taken away. Especially since any other regular parent would be utterly helpless in the same situation.
Now there are a couple of other issues that I had.
- 1) Liam Neeson is a good 56 years old, and he is sprinting like a 20 year old and beating up multiple thugs with a couple of punches. When D and I saw this we instantly called B.S. Yeah, he looked pretty spry training Bruce Wayne in Batman Begins but this is a little far fetched. I call this the Sean Connery effect…as it is a scientific fact that in most movies with the Welsh James Bond is able to scale tall building and crush coals into diamonds with his hands.
- 2) I also had an issue with the daughter…come on, she is supposed to be 17 or something and she acts like a 13 year old on her period ALL THE TIME! (are teenage girls really like this?) I was actually hoping that they would kidnap her early just to shut her up. It made me glad I don’t have a daughter; I am just not ready for it yet. Liam Neeson’s wife played by Famke Janssen (who has fallen off quite a bit on the looks department since she was the hot Russian in Golden Eye and Rounders ) is no better, she is mean, whiny and ultimately the reason for the daughter getting kidnapped, I mean who the hell lets their daughter go to Europe unsupervised, especially with a daughter with the mental capacity of a Hannah Montana doll. If I was Neeson’s character I would have at least pistol whipped her once…Hell, she isn’t even his wife anymore so its totally legal, Right?
- 3) And the final issue I have is with France. It looks like the director, or creator of the story had no love in their hearts for the French. The movie makes France out to be a hot bed of criminals and corruption in the government waiting to steal your innocent daughter or son and sell them away for a profit. All of this true by the way…God I hate the French. Well…actually I do like French fries…what? They are American?…sorry France.
All in all, I don’t regret it watching the movie…I just wished it was better. (The story of my life).