Tuesday, June 02, 2009
Taken, starring Liam Neeson (a personal fave), is about a father and his love for his daughter. It's about doing whatever it takes to protect her. Bryan Mills (Neeson) is a spy in retirement so he can be nearer to his daughter, Kim (Maggie Grace). The story begins on her birthday and for a 17 year old, Kim's exhuberant actions and giddy behavior make her seem far younger. Her parents are divorced and Bryan Mills is barely permitted on the grounds of the estate where his daughter and her mother now live with mommy's new husband. Still, Bryan's vowed to never miss a birthday and he never has. We see him back in his apartment pasting in the latest birthday picture in a scrapbook of birthday memories.
When he gets together with the guys, they shoot the breeze and they try to get him to come back to work, or maybe, at the very least, agree to be security detail for a young pop icon. While there is more to all that, the most notable and sweet part of that scene is how he speaks of his daughter Kim--like he's in love with a beautiful girl and excited that she's called and that they have lunch plans. He's like a school boy excited to spend time with her, excited that she wants to spend time with him... and she's his daughter. His friends seem to get this and I think it's a wonderful glimpse into the mind of a father, particularly a father who doesn't have custody of his child.
Joy turns to disappointment when he realizes that Kim just wants his permission to go on a trip to France with her 19 year old friend Amanda; she needs his signature on a legal document because she's underage and its in the custody agreement. All of Bryan's experience as a spy tells him to forbid this. Kim doesn't know the dangers that lurk out there in the world. At this point I really hate Kim's mother and I'm not a fan of Kim either. Of course, he gives in and insists she call him on a cell phone the minute she arrives. She doesn't remember at the airport. But that's a good thing. That cell phone is her only hope.
Moments after the girls land they meet a "hot guy" who shares a cab with them and invites them to a party. Amanda foolishly announces they have her cousin's apartment all to themselves and that was that. Soon after, the girls are taken.
The bits that follow are typical spy action film. There are moments where I thought, "this is unrealistic," but I didn't care. All I wanted was to see Liam Neeson kick some ass, to see the character of Bryan Mills succeed. He's a desperate man with nothing to lose and the connections in Paris because of his past career and the skills to take a lot of people down--anyone who stands between him and his daughter.
If you like the action/adventure/spy type film I highly recommend this one. It's pretty violent, but that's sort of the point, right? Not only is he on a mission there's a bit of ruthless vengeance enacted in the process.