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Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Taken (***)


Taken stars Liam Neeson as the World's Greatest Dad. When his daughter is kidnapped in Paris and sold into sex slavery, Neeson, a retired government operative, goes ballistic and stops at nothing to find her and those responsible. Taken is basically a two hour version of 24 season one set in Paris with Neeson as Jack Bauer and Maggie Grace as Kim Bauer. There's even a small role for Xander Berkley, who played George Mason on 24, as Grace's wealthy stepdad. I half suspected Nina Myers was behind Grace's abduction. As Neeson searches for his daughter, cutting a path of destruction across half of Paris, killing Albanian gangsters, foreign businessmen, and even a Sheik, Taken becomes more and more implausible and preposterous. But Taken is also an entertaining B action movie that's hugely satisfying on a visceral level. The weirdest thing was Grace, a 25 year old, playing a 17 year old so naive and sheltered, she behaves more like she's 13. She's rich enough for an all-expense paid trip to live in Paris but wears a demin jacket that's been worked over by a Bedazzler. There's a subplot that opens Taken where Neeson is a part-time bodyguard for a pop star and gets her help in possibly starting his daughter on a pop singing career. Wanting his daughter to be a pop star is the one big tarnish on Neeson's perfect-dadditude. After all, look how Britney Spears turned out.