Taken
PG-13
Entertainment: +3
Acceptability: +1/2

Liam Neeson, Maggie Grace, Leland Orser, Jon Gries, David Warshofsky, Katie Cassidy, Holly Valance, and Famke Janssen. Action-adventure. Written by Luc Besson & Robert Mark Kamen. Directed by Pierre Morel.

FILM SYNOPSIS: Liam Neeson stars as Bryan Mills, an ex-government operative who has less than four days to find his kidnapped daughter, who has been taken on her first day of vacation in Paris. After four days, she will disappear into the world of sex slavery.

PREVIEW REVIEW: Bryan Mills is one tough ex-covert government agent. He’s more resourceful than James Bond, more clever than Dick Cheney, and more powerful than a locomotive. So from the get-go, you know he’s going to find his beloved daughter and that the white slavers are going to regret their chosen occupation.

Though the unfolding storyline is ludicrous, I was hooked from start to finish by the frenetic camera work, the swift, editing the lively pacing and visceral directional style, and Mr. Neeson’s commanding performance. It is action adventure at its best. And cathartic in a way, for if we could just send ten guys like Bryan Mills out into the world, they’d end terrorism of any kind for good.

While the violence is PG-13 rather than R, that’s merely because the camera doesn’t seem to focus on blood, and the editing is so quick, we’re unable to distinguish between those who get knocked out and those getting their necks broken. But if a little screen killing goes a long way with you, then you might want to avoid this one. Lots of people get whacked, one guy gets tortured by electrocution, and one more poor soul who thinks he’s escaped our hero’s vengeance gets hit by a bus.

Keep in mind; this is an action/adventure and not a study of the evil nature of human traffickers. We’re not meant to reason out what’s actually going on. For example: in one battle scene on a boat, after dispatching all the villain’s henchmen, we never learn who’s driving the boat. Nor do we have time to think about how the lead is managing to find people in so little time. In one scene, he constructs an IV drip to aid a drugged-up girl. What exactly the medication is we never learn, nor how he got the ingredients in this foreign land. Did he bring this juice with him from America? And although such a terrifying experience as being kidnapped, raped, junked up on drugs and sold into slavery might just traumatize a 17-year-old girl, by film’s end, this one is ready for a new adventure. But, if you can leave logic at home and are willing to embrace a suspension of disbelief, then you should have a nice time watching a good guy beat the crud out of a lot of bad guys.

Preview Reviewer: Phil Boatwright
Distributor: 20th Century Fox

Summary
Crude Language: A couple of crude remarks.
Obscene Language: Other than the few minor expletives like “damn” and “hell,” the scriptwriter avoids much objectionable language; three s-words.
Profanity: One use of God’s name followed by a curse – this from our lead, who has managed to avoid any other offensive language throughout the film; the giddy vacationing teens often utter the expression “oh my God.”
Violence: A man is hit by a truck – this visual is jolting and real looking; the lead tortures a villain in order to get information about where his daughter is being kept; this torture consists of electrocution; bunches of baddies get shot, knifed, crunched in crashing cars and beaten up by the marauding vigilante looking for his kidnapped daughter; the lead wounds a female by shooting her in the arm in order to get information. Blood: Some blood, but not much considering the amount of dead bodies that pile up.
Sexual Intercourse: Two teenage girls are kidnapped for the purpose of selling them as sex slaves; that said, the filmmakers avoid exploitation; we do not see any graphic sexual activity, though it is implied that these girls have been raped; when the girls first arrive in France, one of them declares she is going to sleep with a guy she just met at the airport.
Nudity: None
Homosexual Conduct: None
Sexually Suggestive Action/Dialog: None
Drug Abuse: Social drinking; young women are seen drugged up in a makeshift brothel.
Other: Only one reason why I would suggest teenage girls see this movie – maybe they would be careful from then on not to accept a ride from a stranger. This movie doesn’t deal seriously with human trafficking. It should have.
Running Time: 90 minutes
Intended Audience: Older Teens and Above

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