From the Jan. 29 Oregonian....
"Taken" is a stripped-down action flick offering a single, bloodlust-y pleasure: You get to spend 90 minutes watching a world-class leading man cut a totally justified swath of violence through an army of central-casting scumbags.
The movie scratches what might be called the "Man on Fire" itch, and it doesn't break any new ground -- the story is "retired black-ops loner kills every single sex-slaver remotely responsible for kidnapping his daughter in Paris," and that's it. But the film has three things going for it:
- Liam Neeson brings intelligence and a surprising broken-down sadness to his avenging-hero role.
- The movie takes a cue from "Die Hard" and spends a good half-hour setting up relationships before unleashing hell.
- And the action scenes are refreshingly spare, if choppy -- Neeson rarely takes more than two moves (one of them a throat-chop) to take down an opponent, and it becomes sort of awesomely repetitive after a while.
If you find the film's xenophobic undercurrents distasteful, take solace in this: "Taken" was co-written and directed by the Frenchmen responsible for "District B13" -- so at least the xenophobia is imported.
B-minus; 94 minutes; rated PG-13 for intense sequences of violence, disturbing thematic material, sexual content, some drug references and language.
'Taken' (The Oregonian, Jan. 29, 2008)