It has not only been a long time since I've written a movie review here, it's been a long time since I've seen a movie in the theaters. I think Quantum of Solace was the last film I saw before going into film-hibernation. I think I did a pretty good job of picking a good movie for my post-hibernation viewing in Taken.
Liam Neeson plays Bryan Mills a divorced father living in Los Angeles trying to keep up his connection with his 17 year-old daughter Kim (Maggie Grace) who lives with her mother (Famke Janssen) and her rich husband (Xander Berkeley). When Kim asks her father for permission to go to Paris with a friend (Katie Cassidy), he's reluctant to give it. Afterall, Bryan is a retired government agent ("preventer" he says), and he's not thrilled with his daughter traveling alone. And while he eventually gives his permission, it turns out he has reason to be concerned because while she's on the phone with her father, Kim and her friend are kidnapped from their Parisian apartment and dragged into underworld sex-trafficing. It will take all of Bryan's "special set of skills" to find his daughter and deal with the people responsible within 96-hours, because if he doesn't find her by then, he may not find her ever.
Taken is a quick, darn-good, fast-paced, thriller. We learn quite a bit about the sex-trafficing trade, and Neeson's character is one cool bad-ass you just don't want to get in the way of. Its weakest point is that there really is no primary antagonist that Neeson is going up against besides time, no real villain to focus the viewer's hate on. But Bryan doesn't matter who he has to face, he has one goal he's focused on, and that's what the viewer has to focus on, too: will he find his daughter before some rich, fat-ass, scumbag takes her virginity?
Like Neeson's character, It's straight-forward, so it's not so predictable as it might have been (although there is a portion early in the film that sets-up the possibility for an obvious ending), yet it does have a few surprises, one of which is that the run-time is just around 90 minutes. It is also a little less violent as the TV-commercials are implying, which is a little disappointing, but being "cleaner" than expected doesn't take anything away from the film. I give Taken a B-.