Maggie Grace (left), Famke Janssen and Liam Neeson deliver the goods.
TAKEN (Pierre Morel). 90 minutes. Opens Friday (January 30). For venues and times, see Movies. Rating: NNNN
Imagine 80s action classic Commando field-stripped of its cartoonish violence in favour of a more Bourne-like identity. That's Taken, a taut, tense pistol-whip of a thriller.
Liam Neeson, a less muscled but more muscular actor than Ah-nuld, delivers heft and depth - and a mean karate chop - as an ex-Special Forces soldier whose daughter (Maggie Grace) is kidnapped by a white slavery ring while on vacation in Paris.
Needless to say, Neeson is frantic (Harrison Ford would've been cast 15 years ago), and he spends the next few days hunting - and mowing - down those who took her.
Director Pierre Morel's last film was District B13, one of the best pure action movies of the last 20 years. Here, he dials down the hyperkinetics and high-flying chopsocky enough to make Neeson completely convincing as a shark swimming with seals.