Taken (I) (2008)

PG-13   |    |  Action, Thriller


Taken (2008) Poster

A retired CIA agent travels across Europe and relies on his old skills to save his estranged daughter, who has been kidnapped while on a trip to Paris.


7.8/10
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  • Liam Neeson and Fani Kolarova in Taken (2008)
  • Liam Neeson in Taken (2008)
  • Liam Neeson and Olivier Rabourdin in Taken (2008)
  • Liam Neeson in Taken (2008)
  • Maggie Grace in Taken (2008)
  • Liam Neeson in Taken (2008)

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User Reviews


24 June 2009 | happyendingrocks
8
| Who needs luck when you can break a guy's arm in three places?
Since the entire plot of this film is given away in the masterfully delivered trailer, it's not divulging anything to say that Taken is a modern-day revenge thriller. This presents an interesting experiment, actually. Considering that there aren't really any surprises to be found in Taken, beyond those we were offered in the pre-release snippet, are splendidly realized action sequences enough to carry this film? The answer here is a resounding "yes". Taken may be a simple film, but it's not simplistic, and even though the first third of it is spent recapping what we knew going in, the second and third acts here deliver enough thrills and action to make this film riveting, even if we know exactly where it's going.

By setting the chase within the ultra-sleazy world of human trafficking, which we secretly hope is just a media creation, but know deep inside that this reprehensible and inhumane phenomenon is a reality, the film is propelled by a sense of urgency that isn't present in most revenge films. Liam Neeson's daughter isn't "Dead", she's "Taken", so his race against the ticking stopwatch tracking her probable fate provides enough tension to diffuse any disappointment in knowing exactly what's going to happen here.

The selling point here is how deftly Liam Neeson hacks his way through a bevy of Albanian baddies. Neeson is untested as an action star, but watching him maneuver his way through the sea of detritus here, we're left hoping that he's got a franchise in him.

The film may not have the intricacies of the expertly crafted Bourne films (although, like every action film made since Bourne appeared on the screen, the fight scenes here owe an obviously rich debt to Matt Damon's antics), but the gritty and realistic path Neeson carves to get to his stolen daughter is sufficient to deliver the promise implied by the fantastic trailer.

You don't have to be a parent to understand and sympathize with Liam's plight here, and there is a morbid but exhilarating sense of release in seeing the evil empire pay for its transgressions. Sometimes morally complex, ambiguous studies of man's desire for revenge are too preachy to be entertaining. Taken doesn't really care if you like Liam Neeson or wonder if he's doing the right thing by flagrantly taking the law into his own hands; the film just wants you to strap yourself in and enjoy the tidings as he hands out beat-downs all over Paris.

This film doesn't want you to think. Like Neeson's character quickly realizes, thinking is often not a luxury present in dire circumstances like these. Action is what counts, and for those who miss the era of the lean, mean 85-minute skull-crack fest, Taken will re-conjure the giddy thrills of watching Dudikoff, Seagal, and Van-Damme chomp through a slew of B-Movie terrorists. Having an Oscar-caliber actor delivering the judo chops only sweetens the pot.

Forget about Oscars, plot points, or coherence. This dude's daughter has been kidnapped, and he's a former government agent trained to make bad guys' lives a living hell. Do you want to see him find his daughter and take down the scum who took her? Of course you do. Even reading this review is over-analyzing it.

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Did You Know?

Trivia

Former Special Air Service (SAS) soldier Mick Gould trained Liam Neeson in combatives and weapons handling skills to prepare him for the role.


Quotes

Singh: Mr. Mills, how are you?
Bryan: I'm fine. How are you?
Singh: Very fine. I suppose you want to see it again?
Bryan: If you don't mind.
Singh: You know where it is.
Bryan: Oh yeah.


Goofs

When the girls are in the apartment in France, they turn the music up loud so they do not hear Kim's mobile phone ring. When the camera pans over to her handbag, the phone is ringing, but "Silent" mode is selected.


Alternate Versions

The distributor made minor changes to secure a 15 certificate for the UK theatrical release. The UK theatrical cut is the same as the International Cut except for the torture scene, which was replaced with the PG-13 version to secure a 15 certificate. In the PG-13 version, clamps are attached to the chair. In the International Cut, they're attached to spikes which are stabbed into the victim's legs. The uncut International Cut was released with an 18 certificate on video. This censored UK version was also released theatrically in Ireland with a 15A certificate. The extended torture scene didn't affect the certificate on video, and the uncut International Cut was also released with a 15 certificate in Ireland (cinema and video certification systems are different in Ireland - a 15A at the cinema is equivalent to a 15 on video).


Soundtracks

Mout Ah Lik
Written by
Philippe Guez & Patrick Maarek
K Music / Kosinus

Storyline

Plot Summary


Synopsis (WARNING: Spoilers)


Genres

Action | Thriller

Details

Release Date:

30 January 2009

Language

English, French, Albanian, Arabic


Country of Origin

France, USA, UK

Filming Locations

Avenue des Champs-Élysées, Paris 8, Paris, France

Box Office

Budget:

$25,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend USA:

$24,717,037 1 February 2009

Gross USA:

$145,000,989

Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

$226,837,760

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