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'Taken' Lightly: An Unintentionally Funny Abduction

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'Taken' Lightly: An Unintentionally Funny Abduction

Movies

'Taken' Lightly: An Unintentionally Funny Abduction

'Taken' Lightly: An Unintentionally Funny Abduction

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  • <iframe src="https://www.npr.org/player/embed/99904618/100049753" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">
  • Transcript
Liam Neeson i

Secret Agent Man: Liam Neeson takes aim at stereotypical villains in Taken. Stephanie Branchu/Twentieth Century Fox hide caption

toggle caption Stephanie Branchu/Twentieth Century Fox
Liam Neeson

Secret Agent Man: Liam Neeson takes aim at stereotypical villains in Taken.

Stephanie Branchu/Twentieth Century Fox

Taken

  • Director: Pierre Morel
  • Genre: Action, Thriller
  • Running Time: 94 minutes

Rated PG-13 for violence, sexual content and drug references.

Watch Clips

'There's Someone Here'

'She's Been Taken'

'No Escape'

Maggie Grace i

Distress Call: Kim (Maggie Grace) hides from kidnappers just before she's abducted. Stephanie Branchu/Twentieth Century Fox hide caption

toggle caption Stephanie Branchu/Twentieth Century Fox
Maggie Grace

Distress Call: Kim (Maggie Grace) hides from kidnappers just before she's abducted.

Stephanie Branchu/Twentieth Century Fox

Director Pierre Morel's Taken is a brisk and violent action film that can't help being unintentionally silly. How? Well, to start with, it traces the events that follow the kidnapping of an innocent American teen who's abducted in Paris by a ruthless gang of Albanian white-slave traders.

Then, it turns out, the only person with the skills and the moxie to have even a chance of bringing her back alive is her divorced father — an ex-CIA agent. Who's played by Liam Neeson.

At 6 feet tall, Neeson is a larger-than-life actor, and one who wears his heart on his sleeve. He throws himself into this role, making good use of a purposeful scowl that combines fury with disgust.

He certainly has a lot to scowl about. His character, Bryan Mills, is retired, spending lonely nights consuming take-out Chinese food because he wants to get closer to his daughter and make up for years of separation.

But as Mills himself says, "I'm retired, not dead." And when his daughter and a friend get snatched, he springs into action with "a very particular set of skills acquired over a very long career in the shadows," as he tells the kidnappers.

Mills, you see, always puts evil in its place, whether it's a horde of virginity-despoiling Arabs — some stereotypes simply refuse to die — or that unpleasant gang of marauding Albanians.

Innocent people do get shot in the process, but hey, no one said this was going to be easy.

At one point, Mills leaves an innocent friend bleeding on the floor and tells her husband, "Tell your wife I apologize."

And they say chivalry is dead.

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