Daddy to the rescue, yet again“Taken,” a French-made action movie that took Korea by storm this past spring, is yet another production that admonishes teenage girls to tell their father the truth.
The lesson is familiar to fans of the TV series “24,” in which Kiefer Sutherland’s Jack Bauer, a federal agent, perennially juggles the tasks of rescuing his wayward teen daughter Kim (Elisha Cuthbert) and saving the world. Especially in season one, viewers can’t escape the sentiment, “You know, if Kim hadn’t snuck out to party with boys, her dad’s job would be so much easier.”
In Taken, Liam Neeson takes the Jack Bauer-esque role of Bryan Mills, a spy who’s quit the business in order to make up for lost time with his daughter, who, like Jack Bauer’s, is also named Kim (Maggie Grace).
Although this Kim, unlike the one from 24, is a “good girl” who has her father’s incredibly reluctant blessing to take a trip to Paris, she does make the mistake of telling a few little white lies.
First, Kim and her mother, Lenore (Famke Janssen), have decided that instead of touring museums, as she tells her father, she’s going to follow U2 on their European tour. Then Kim finds that her wilder friend Amanda (Katie Cassidy), whose cousins they are staying with in Paris, will actually be in Spain.
Thus, the two teen girls are left to their own devices in Paris, and upon their arrival they share a cab into the city with a handsome Frenchman named Peter (Nicolas Giraud).
Peter turns out to be a spotter for human traffickers, and the girls are promptly kidnapped - setting Bryan on a wild goose chase for his daughter with the assistance of all his still active connections from his old life of espionage.
Like Bauer, Bryan freely burns bridges and tortures villains on his desperate quest, even shooting the innocent wife of an old friend who’s gone bad. But he’s a man with only one mission, and he’ll do anything to succeed.
Neeson, who looks awfully old and tired in the movie’s depressing opening, quickly snaps right into his role as a super-spy once he’s on duty, deftly knocking out opponents and dodging their blows. He’s definitely the star vehicle, as everyone else is rather one-dimensional.
The film’s got a sneaky message of valuing virginal “good girls” over wanton “bad girls” that gets mildly irksome, but that’s not the point of Taken. Overall, it’s not smart, but it benefits from a swift plot and tense action. It’s yet to be released in the States, but it’ll be interesting to see its reception there. Will the U.S. write it off as a 24 rip-off, or will they laud Neeson as his own unlikely action hero? I hope the latter.
Action, Thriller / English
Directed by Pierre Morel
By Hannah Bae Contributing Writer [firstname.lastname@example.org]
By Hannah Bae Contributing Writer