Liam Neeson’s vigilante crusade

After reading numerous half-hearted reviews, there was an expectation of disappointment walking into the theatre to see Liam Neeson’s newest flick Taken. Surprisingly, however, the let down never came and after 90 minutes of energy-packed excitement I found myself ready for more.

An interestingly original concept, Neeson plays Bryan, a former CIA spy who must rely on his old skills and contacts when his 17-year-old daughter Kim (Maggie Grace )is kidnapped by sex traffickers while on vacation with a friend in Paris, France.

Sure, the idea of one man going to Paris and taking on the entirety of the Albanian mafia is somewhat unrealistic, but Neeson manages to pull it off for the most part by showing a stark determination that can obviously only be understood by a parent whose child is put in danger. That said, more airtime was definitely deserved for Leland Orser, Jon Gries, and David Warshofsky, who play Bryan’s old CIA buddies. Now working security for a rich and famous 20-something pop star, the onscreen chemistry between the four men, seen only at the beginning of the film, is brilliant, and could have easily made the plot even slightly more realistic had they chosen to join Bryan on his journey in France.

That said, Taken definitely has enough kicking, punching, stabbing, and shooting to keep any male viewer more than completely occupied, while having the heart-string-tugging back story of a divorcee who is desperate to make up for lost time with his daughter. While only offering a brief glimpse into the dark and dangerous world of sex trafficking, its depiction is frighteningly real and does the job of opening the eyes of cinema-goers to one of the world’s least seen underworlds.

Fast-paced and exciting, the film does end on an unnecessarily cheesy note that will leave you cringing but satisfied and wondering why on earth Neeson has never played this kind of tough guy before.

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