Combustible Celluloid
 
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With: Liam Neeson, Famke Janssen, Maggie Grace, Goran Kostic, Katie Cassidy, Xander Berkeley, Rasha Bukvic, Nicolas Giraud, Jon Gries, Rubens Hyka
Written by: Luc Besson, Robert Mark Kamen
Directed by: Pierre Morel
MPAA Rating: PG-13 for intense sequences of violence, disturbing thematic material, sexual content, some drug references and language
Running Time: 93
Date: 02/27/2008
IMDB

Taken (2009)

2 1/2 Stars (out of 4)

The Mills Factor

By Jeffrey M. Anderson

Liam Neeson stars as former government operative Bryan Mills, a man with a particular set of skills. In the prologue, we see him acting quickly to save the life of a pop starlet (Holly Valance). But he has given all that up to live near his teen daughter Kim (Maggie Grace), in the hopes that he will get to spend some quality time with her; she now lives with her mother (Famke Janssen) and stepfather (Xander Berkeley) in a mansion, so Bryan often feels like a fifth wheel. But when Kim wants to take a trip to Europe, Bryan fears the worst. And sure enough, she's kidnapped just a few hours after arriving. So Bryan goes into action, using all his old skills and contacts to figure out where his daughter might be, rushing to find her before she's sold to the sex slavery market and lost forever. It's a fairly gripping, involving story, to be sure, but director Pierre Morel (District B13) gives it a pretty lazy treatment, creating jerky, shaky action scenes and cutting corners through lazy dialogue (provided by Luc Besson and Robert Mark Kamen) and dumb coincidences. Janssen plays a one-dimensional shrew, and Grace is impossibly goody-goody, but it's great to see Neeson in such an active role; he plays it for all it's worth.

DVD Details: Fox has released a "standard" DVD and a two-disc special edition. It comes in an unrated version (about 2 minutes longer) as well as the theatrical version. Extras include two commentary tracks, one with the director and cinematographer, and another one by writer Kamen. There's a making-of featurette, footage of the premiere, trailers, and other stuff.

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