Taken [DVD]


By Clint Morris

Qui Gonn-Jinn swaps a lightsaber for a spy-kit in the latest foreign financed/filmed actioner from Frenchman Luc Besson’s crowd.

I refer to Liam Neeson by his Star Wars’ character’ s name because, for all intents and purpose, the aging heartthrob is essentially giving the same performance here as he did in say, Attack of the Clones. Seems one doesn’t need a bluescreen to sprout wood.

George Lucas obviously told Neeson that “all action/adventure films – or, as some like to call them ‘popcorn’ films – merely require a ‘speak slow and sound out your words’ performance from its actors” because once again he seems to be putting more stock into the volume he uses when speaking his lines, rather than actually delivering them with credibility or passion.

Having said that, maybe this type of film doesn’t require strong performances – and for what it’s worth, nobody else in the cast – which includes Famke Janssen, Maggie Grace, Xander Berkely or Leland Orser has seemingly done anything other than cold read their lines five minutes before shooting their one take – because the action sequences, just as they were in Besson’s “Transporter” movies, are clearly the main attraction.

And action sequences this one has aplenty – there’s car chases, gun fights, knife fights, fist fights, electrocutions, and youngsters having to jump off bridges to escape the tall guy on their tail.

The tall guy is a former soldier (Neeson) in Paris to find his kidnapper daughter (Maggie Grace of “Lost”), snatched bby slavers on the day she arrived in the city of Lights. He’s essentially got about a day to find her – before she’s sold to some deep-pocketed foreign crook, and lost forever. With his smarts, and gun, our hero works his way through the bad guys – hoping his daughter is handcuffed to the last one on his list.

“Taken”, despite it’s lackings in the acting department (and script department for that matter – you’ve seen this story before), is a fulfilling three-course meal for hungry action-movie fans. If you can switch your brain off for a while – I find it hard; I’m constantly thinking about something, hmmm, reminds me, did I check the lotto numbers tonight? – you might even find yourself breaking a sweat watching this high-energy “Bourne Identity” meets “Transporter” profusion.

One for the crowds, not the critics.