Liam Neeson is a bedraggled ex-government agent who is seeking to make up for lost time with his 17 year old daughter before she goes to college. However when she goes on a trip to Paris with the intention of following U2 on their European tour (ew) she is abruptly abducted by Albanians and Liam must scour the Parisian landscape searching for her.
This is the one that started it all, the film that made Liam Neeson (56 years old at the time) an action hero. And you know what, you can see why. Because while the film itself is nothing special, Neeson is. He has this fantastic gravity to his performance that means you just can’t take your eyes off the screen when he’s on. Despite the lacklustre nature of some scenes you still care what happens purely because of Liam Neeson. More so in Taken than any of his other action outings.
However without a performance like Neeson’s Taken doesn’t really have a lot going for it, other than being a nuts and bolts action thriller that embraces its own gritty nature and doesn’t hold back from being an exploitation movie (unlike the other Taken movies). The action sequences are all pretty decent until Liam enters a car, and then Taken starts having problems. Because for one Liam isn’t on screen the whole time, and secondly the director has decided that to make it feel high octane and tense he has to shake the camera like he’s making a second cloverfeild movie. You end up not really knowing what is actually happening, not to the extent that Taken 3 managed to disorientate you but it’s still fairly nauseating.
Overall, Taken is a bit of fun really. It doesn’t take itself too seriously and neither should you. Neeson manages to carry the whole film admirably and what could have been a very forgettable 93 minutes has managed to solidify itself in the hearts and minds of the general public entirely because of him.