While they scripted in the same year the lame Transporter 3, Luc Besson and Robert Mark Kamen also did a surprisingly okay action film. Despite being a little bit predictable if not formulaic on the edges, Taken surprises us with its simplicity. Add to that the interesting topic of the film, which is the traffic of sex slaves in Europe. However, this doesn't mean that the film is exempted of some flaws which can be found mostly in the script.
Bryan Mills (Liam Neeson) is a former CIA agent who decided to retire just to spend more time with his 17 years old daughter, Kim (Maggie Grace). In fact, while he was operating across the world, Bryan let his job destroy his marriage with his wife (Famke Janssen) and his relationship with his daughter. When his daughter wants to go to Paris with her friend, Amanda (Katie Cassidy), Bryan has some reservations, but he ends up letting Kim go. A few hours after arriving in Paris, Kim and Amanda are kidnapped by sex slaves traffickers. As a matter of fact, Bryan would have to come to Paris and use all the dirty tricks he learnt in his career to save his daughter.
First of all, don't expect to see a lot of character development in this film since the film is quite simple. Despite having no interesting plot twists, the film is extremely formulaic meaning that the two scriptwriters gave it a simple objective (Bryan trying to save his daughter) and made it follow a relatively predictable course loaded with unrealistic, albeit thrilling, situations. Although the film is extremely simple, one always get the feeling that the story looks programmed to bring us where it wants to. In fact, given the vast number of people travelling to Paris, it's surprising that it has to be Amanda and Kim who are abducted.
After all, is it that easy to make a story in which an abduction looks so random?
On another note, while the film doesn't deserve any European Film Award for the performance, the cast can be fairly convincing. Despite not normally being known for playing in action movies, Liam Neeson (Batman Begins) manages to impress us in the action scenes. In addition to that, although Neeson doesn't necessarily have memorable lines, one can feel in his character how authoritative Neeson is. Other than that, most of the other member of the cast look like ornaments. Indeed, Famke Janssen (GoldenEye) and Maggie Grace, just to name a few, probably deliver a bland performance, but their performance just hits the note that needed to be hit. Nothing less. Nothing more.
Finally, one doesn't watch this film to see a masterpiece! Besides, given the film's short length one doesn't have to wait for a long time so that the action scenes come. These action scenes are very spectacular in a sense that the fight scenes are as intense as the ones from the Bourne trilogy and the car sequences are as captivating as the ones in James Bond (minus the gadgets).
|Screenplay:||Luc Besson and Robert Mark Kamen|
Liam Neeson, Famke Jansen, Maggie Grace, Xander Berkeley, Leland Orser, Katie Cassidy and Olivier Rabourdin