a mindless vigilante movie starring Liam Neeson with a rod so
far up his ass you can see it every time he opens his mouth.
The world had been waiting, oh, four seconds for that about
twenty years ago. And then we all moved on. Except Neeson and
Pierre Morels. What collective of minds is so God damn retarded
it thinks the world wants to see a stuffy, pasty old English
guy shooting shit up like Charles Bronson on the day the bank
came to repossess his mustache?
is pure and simple the movie equivalent of a retarded kid in
a wheelchair with soiled underwear. It's not a stupid pleasure
like huffing metallic paint from a paper bag. It's not even
a guilty pleasure, like videos of chimpanzees punching each
other in the nuts. Taken is a shitstream of preposterous
action sequences linked by an absurd plot and a total lack of
concern for anything except piling up bodies. Fuck, it's stupid.
If I want mindless action, and sometimes I do, I sure as hell
don't want pasty-faced hard-on Neeson doing it under the sham
disguise that this is somehow more artsy or relevant.
a retired American spy who is freakily obsessed with the teenage
daughter he was always away from during his working years. He
obsesses with the aforementioned rod up his ass, his teeth clenched,
and his Irish brogue disguised about as well as a drag queen
with his dick sticking out. Beyond establishing his creepy overbearing
relationship with his daughter, the movie tells us he's a regular
joe with pals who come over to barbecue steaks and talk about
guy stuff. Neeson joins in taciturnly, through clenched teeth
and eyes that suggest he hasn't slept or cracked a joke since
that hilarious scene in Schindler's List where he keeps
slipping on all the blood.
silly sequence where Neeson saves a pop star's life and forever
indebts her, he learns his seventeen-year-old daughter (played
by 26-year-old Maggie Grace)--who wants very much to be a singer--is
going to France for the summer. In exchange for letting her
go, Neeson makes Grace promise to call him about every fifteen
minutes or so, presumably to tell him what color underwear she
after landing in France, and a few gratuitous shots of the Eiffel
Tower, Grace is kidnapped by Albanian sex slave traders. She
is on the phone to Neeson when the kidnapers come to take her
away and gives him a grab bag of details to work with. That's
more than enough.
old CIA gear, Neeson records the call and has his friends process
it to tell him who the bad guys are. He then hops a plane, lands
in Paris, and goes on a serial killing spree with virtually
no interference from authorities. Every move Neeson makes in
this movie is correct. There are almost no reversals and fewer
surprises. In a town were he doesn't speak the language and
is not a native, he always knows exactly where to go and where
the bad guys hide. Every bad guy is obviously dumber and less
prepared than him, has no character whatsoever, and is easily
killed. It's not just bad guys, though. The innocent get shot
and beat up, too. I have no idea why. I'm not sure if the director
Pierre Morel (he's a Frog), or the writers Luc ("I'm-trying-to-be-Joe-Eszterhaus-as-fast-as-I-can")
Besson and Robert Mark Kamen (Hey, he wrote the near direct-to-video
Transporter 3!) have that little regard for human life,
that little concern for the audience's connection to the characters,
or intended to say something but failed miserably. All I got
out of it is that they must think good entertainment includes
us rooting for a guy who only knows how to kill people to resolve
are fine, when they're interesting. Neeson isn't. He plays a
fucking asshole, prick and charisma-free tightass. Taken
expects us to root for him. The movie has no commentary, or
point to make. It wants us to want Neeson to get his daughter
back, and for us to believe that nothing should stop him. It
wants us to think his obsession is sweet, not creepy and dangerous.
It thinks we'll be impressed by his cleverness, but there is
little of it on display. His best solution to any problem is
to kill someone.
way too old to play this character. The guy's as old as Methuselah's
shit, and should be at home sitting in one of those chairs that
helps you stand up, not pretending he can swing his dick around
like a 20-year-old. He looks like a jackass pretending he's
Jason Bourne or James Bond, except more blurry since the action
is shot all choppy and blurred to hide how slow he really is.
a mild plot-twist featuring a former French spy, but that's
as much as resistance as he gets. I don't understand why the
guy can plow through cars in town, steal shit and shoot people
up without at least drawing a tiny bit of attention from the
cops. Nobody ever says why all of Frenchies stand idly by while
he goes berserk. Maybe it takes place during one of their month-long
national holidays. Neeson also gets to the bottom of a complex
Albanian white-prostitution ring in a matter of days when nobody
else can seem to crack it in years. He deduces where they hang
out just by asking when nobody else can. In one scene, I believe
he kills a half-dozen or so without even getting winged. That's
one fucking tough fifty-seven-year-old. When I'm that age, I
just hope I can make it through the night without having to
get up to pee.
never in danger and there is no tension because he is always
smarter and better prepared. He has to fight and shoot a lot,
but in a formulaic shoot-'em-up way. In one scene, after rescuing
a drugged-up teen, he magically has all the medication (and
time) to help her detox. In many scenes he somehow gets from
one secret locale to another without any explanation of how.
His friends in the US can identify a person by name just from
two words heard on a cell phone. He infiltrates a snooty party
where virgins are auctioned off to the highest bidders in a
scene that I'm sure is meant to feel creepy but actually feels
more like a laughable outtake from Eyes Wide Shut.
Neeson gets on board a yacht owned by a fat sheik. He looks
like Zero Mostel with a tan. After a dozen or so more dead bodies
and Neeson getting and losing a limp, he shoots the fat sheik,
gets his daughter back and, through massive bloodshed, proves
he loves her after all. I guess devotion is measured in pints.
The daughter's friend dies, but nobody mourns. There's no time
for that because Neeson has arranged for the pop star he saved
earlier to surprise the just-rescued daughter with singing lessons.
glee in Taken is not in the plot, not in the acting,
not in having anything at all to say. They don't give a seastar's
tit about any of that. Their pride is showing how many people
can die and how much action there is. That's really fucking
sad since the action is often, vague, poorly lit to mask how
old and frail Neeson is, and mostly not nearly as clever as
Morel, Besson and Karmen think it is. It's pure fucking garbage:
too lame to be mindless action, and too mindless to have anything
to say. It's a fucking embarrassment. One Finger.
to tell Filthy Something?