Taken 2008 Movie Scene Liam Neeson as Bryan Mills holding a gun pointed at the bad guy

Taken [2008]

Sometimes weird shit happens. One thing leads to another and soon you’ve got a worldwide hit that no one expected. Taken was imagined as a standard issue thriller, as Luc Besson (Fifth Element, Taxi, Leon) pitched the idea to director Pierre Morel (Banlieue 13). Jeff Bridges was first cast as Mills, but he was replaced by Liam Neeson who was looking for more physical roles. He actually thought that this movie will bomb, considering four months in Paris and the martial arts training he received, a pretty decent deal. 

We all know what happened afterward, Taken became a hugely successful blockbuster making over $230 million on a $25 million budget. If I had to guess, the whole daddy aspect sat really well with the general population. A strong, older, male protagonist is in charge of finding and protecting his female child, what more to want? I guess the right answer would be fear, we want fear. And fear came in the form of the infamous “Year in Europe” or the year people usually spend roaming Europe and looking for new experiences.

The puritans dread this decision, considering Europe a very dangerous place. And when they see this movie, they’ll be able to point at it and say: see, what did I tell you? Although the United States is a far more dangerous country to live than any of the European ones. Moving on, when you add to these elements slick direction and great action scenes, we get a very effective thriller. Bryan Mills will kill a lot of people and he will show no mercy to the bad guys. It feels very satisfying to see him become this killer vigilante on a righteous path. I also want to mention the short running time of just ninety minutes.

Fucking agency. You give it everything and it’s still not enough. Bryan Mills is a retired CIA operative desperate to mend the relationship between him and his daughter after the divorce. Kim is seventeen years old and is currently living with her mother and stepfather. She decides to travel to Europe with her friend Amanda. However, as soon as they land in Paris, the trouble starts. That someone packs his bags and heads straight to Paris, determined to save his daughter…

Now already iconic scene, “particular set of skills”, is one of those scenes that you will never tire of. Sometimes movies like this just happen and although they feature an extremely simplistic story with very obvious plot twists, they are still fun to watch. If you watched Morel’s previous movie Banlieue 13, you would have noticed his talent when it comes to action scenes and interesting camera angles. Polished and tight, Taken is a thriller that will entertain you like those big movies from the seventies and eighties.

The only thing that’s missing is a memorable villain. Casting was great, with Liam reinvigorating his career and Famke being charming and sexy, as always. Finally, if you’re looking for movies like Taken, check out the gritty British thriller Hyena. I know it’s not as flashy as this one but it deals with the same kind of people. If you’re looking for something with more action I recommend Man on Fire and Leon.

Director: Pierre Morel

Writers: Luc Besson, Robert Mark Kamen

Cast: Liam Neeson, Famke Janssen, Leland Orser, Maggie Grace

Fun Facts: Because of this movie, Famke Janssen decided to fight against corruption in real life. She now serves as the Goodwill Ambassador for the United Nations Office against Drugs and Crime.


IMDb Link: http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0936501/

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