Liam Neeson is a marvelous actor who plays serious, thoughtful, cerebral roles. In the new movie Taken Liam Neeson’s role is guaranteed to excite those fans who admire his skills. Neeson has rightly been called “an unstoppable force in this adrenaline-fueled thriller from director Pierre Morel.” Bryan (Liam Neeson) has taken early retirement from the CIA to live closer to his teenage daughter, Kim. Bryan's government work kept him away from Kim for much of her childhood and clearly destroyed his marriage in the process. Now that he is retired he desperately wants to make up for lost time. When Kim announces that she's taking a trip to Paris with her friend Bryan (Neeson) is extremely apprehensive about her traveling on her own. Her mother disagrees and Bryan is not a happy camper with this decision. Soon his worst fear is soon realized, as Kim and her friend are abducted upon their arrival in Paris.
When Bryan hears about the abduction he springs into action, using his well-honed CIA skills to piece together clues from a single, frantic phone call that he received (and recorded) from Kim. This part of the film “feels” real to me and was very intelligent and engaging. Bryan then hops a plane to Paris, determined to rescue his daughter no matter what it takes. With some help from his old CIA buddies, he tracks down the kidnappers—an Albanian crime ring known for selling young girls into the sex trade. (This part of the story line seems rather believable to me.) Bryan quickly takes matters into his own hands, working his way through Paris's underworld as the clock ticks down over the course of five days. (There must be at least fifty, maybe even a hundred, shootings along the way. The film is very violent!) Bryan’s search propels him into the upper echelons of a massive crime ring, putting him closer and closer to rescuing his daughter.
Neeson is not generally known for taking full-on action-hero modes. In Taken he is a crime-fighting machine—called by one critic “a Bourne/Bond hybrid with a deathly serious baritone.” I would call Bryan “Jack Bauer on steroids.” While the film is filled with actions scenes Neeson gives the viewer a moving performance as an estranged father fighting for what he loves most in the world. The film’s plot is not strong but the character of Neeson makes it worthwhile if you like action and the violence is not over the top for your personal tastes. I give Taken two and a half stars and enjoyed it. It was the kind of action I enjoy but it is certainly not a great film.