There was a time when Luc Besson meant something more than it means right now. nikita (1990) and léon (1994) are proof. Unfortunately, the French filmmaker has not been as successful lately, neither as a director, nor as a writer, nor as a producer. He writes and produces taken, which will not be the movie who brings him back to where he was in the nineties, even though it is not an offensive one. It is just something we have probably seen before one way or another.
The beginning is by far the worst. Thirteen minutes in, all the characters have talked about how dangerous Europe, and specially Paris, is for American teenagers. Whatever. Of course, something is going to happen, but all that pessimism is unjustified. The scared father is Brian (Liam Neeson) a former spy who once retired is finally trying to play dad with his daughter who lives with her mother and her stepfather. It is not a surprise then than right after his daughter and her friend land in Paris they are kidnapped by the Albanian mafia for prostitution purposes. It is then when things turn better and Brian turns to be the grown up version of Jason Bourne.
Being his business as personal as it is, it is not surprising that the action is straightforward. Actually, it is so personal, that Brian cares nothing about the Albanian mafia and its business. All he wants is to get her daughter back. Can we blame him? Definitely he is not the hero all those other girls were waiting for and is not going to put down the Albanian mafia even though they are evil and are shown as what they are.
The script is weak and predictable, and one can see through some of its holes, but the action is able to make up for it. I am still waiting for Brian’s daughter’s friend’s parents to be notified. In any case, director Pierre Morel manages to deliver a non stop action flick that will pleased those who have a tendency towards low budget action booms.
As for Neeson, even though after the movie ends it is obvious why we do have not seen him in many action roles before, his performance is better than one might have expected. And by one I mean at least myself. There is nothing to say about anyone else. Really. They all pretty much die decently.
All in all, a fine experience that nevertheless will soon be forgotten by myself and should be probably be avoided by many.
For the deadhours of fathers of seventeen year old girls about to travel overseas.