Taken (2008) movie review and original artwork

 ‘Taken‘ Stars Liam Neeson. I think this is Neeson’s best role.

Neeson’s done a bunch of crappy movies in his time, but he can still be awesome. As long as he’s in a good movie like Taken‘.

The basic plot of ‘Taken’ is that Neeson’s daughter goes to Paris and get’s kidnapped. Then Neeson has 96 hours to find her. The thought of finding someone who is a continent away seems daunting. Neeson used to be a spy for the CIA, but retired to be closer to his daughter. His wife has divorced him, taken custody of the daughter, and remarried to this rich old guy. I’ll go out and say it, the mother is just a total bitch.

After Neeson saves the daughter, you might think that they throw the cliché in and have him and the ex-wife get back together again, but that doesn’t happen. That is a very good thing.

Original noir artwork created by Sam based on the Taken DVD cover

I like that the movie doesn’t follow clichés. The action is extremely well done. Unlike in the Bourne movies. I hate the Jason Bourne quick cut shaky cam technique. I think that it really takes away from the action, when you can barely tell whats happening.

The quick cuts also lack authenticity to the fights. Extremely long takes are hard to do, but are often some of the best shots, like in ‘Hard Boiled, the shot in the hospital that lasts four minutes, is considered the best shot in the movie.

‘Taken’ mixes short cuts and longer cuts, in a very good way. You can feel all of the hits. When Neeson hits somebody it isn’t just a random punch, you can see the precision he employs. Every punch or kick he throws is to incapacitate his target in the fastest and most effective manner. So all the hand to hand fighting is well done.

Liam Neeson in Taken

What about the shooting? What usually happens is Neeson is taking the guy’s out quietly with hand to hand, then a single shot get’s fired off alerting the other guys to his presence, then the shooting starts. The shooting is done well, very well.

The last part of the action is the driving sequences. This is my only real complaint about the movie. The driving scenes, are actually pretty boring. There is a chase or two, and there’s shooting involved, but they just sort of went on for too long, or maybe the scoring was the problem, but the Driving scenes were far less enjoyable than the rest of the movie.

The character’s precision and professionalism are really shown. His lethality is outstanding. It is interesting to see how the character thinks. The way he finds his daughter is very smartly written. The movie has balls. The character is ruthless and unrelenting. When he is torturing the man who took his daughter, after he finds out what he knows, he leaves him being electrocuted, until he dies, slowly. That is a good mark from me. A lot of other movies wouldn’t have had the guts to do that.

My favorite part of the movie happens right at the end. This moment really separates the movie apart from other action films for me. When the last guy is holding a knife to his daughters throat and Neeson is pointing a gun at him. the man starts to negotiate and Neeson just shoots him in the head. That is awesome! Most movies would have him throw down his gun and comply with the bad guy, but not “Taken”. The only other movie I have seen this done in was “True Lies” when Schwarzenegger does it to save his wife. It’s a little different, but basically the same.

Taken is a great action thriller. It has much better action than most thrillers, and a much better story than most action movies. I really appreciate that the movie went all out. Taken is one of my favorite action movies. a great film. (I am involved in the production of a TV show with about 4 episodes inspired by “Taken”)

 

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