TAKEN (Fox, 2008) D: Pierre Morel, w/ Liam.

TAKEN (Fox, 2008) D: Pierre Morel, w/ Liam Neeson, Maggie Grace. Rating: NNNN DVD package: NNNN Rating: NNNN

This was a fun movie when Arnold Schwarzenegger made it as Commando. It’s much better with Liam Neeson in the lead.


Neeson plays Bryan Mills, who has retired from his CIA black ops career to be near his teenage daughter. When she’s kidnapped in Paris, he sets out to get her back. This involves much brutal work with guns and fists.

Neeson, a hulking 6-foot-4, has ample presence and power for the action, and more than enough acting chops to deliver several shades of menace, fatherly tenderness and anxiety. This makes him a man who can fail, and who holds our sympathy even when he’s doing horrible things.

However fast and shaky the image gets, the action stays crystal-clear. Director Pierre Morel used to be a cinematographer and still does his own camerawork, an approach to his work that shows in his commentary.

The second commentary, by writer Robert Mark Kamen, is one of the best I’ve heard. He covers producer Luc Besson’s rise to prominence and their long-standing working relationship (Transporter, among others), then launches into a detailed analysis of the construction of this type of thriller and of the script’s relationship to production. Great stuff.

EXTRAS Director/cinematographer commentary, writer commentary, making-of doc. Widescreen. English, French, Spanish audio. English, Spanish subtitles.

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