Saturday, January 31, 2009
Many modern action films are the bane of my existence. Most of the time, this genre of film, just really doesn't work for me. However, recently, with the release of the Bourne trilogy, and the revamp of the Bond franchise, the genre seems to be attempting something new. That all said, sometimes, an action film comes out of nowhere to not only kick you in the balls, but break your arm and take the gun you are carrying too. One of those films was Taken.
Taken stars Liam Neeson as Bryan, a former spy, who after his estranged daughter gets kidnapped by Armenian gangsters, with the m.o. of getting sent into the sex slave trade, he takes his skills on the hunt for the men behind the kidnapping. That's about it, and it's not much deeper than that, and it almost doesn't need to be.
Taken is the newest film from Transporter writing duo Luc Besson and Robert Mark Kamon, and is helmed by District B13 helmer Pierre Morel, and this is one hell of a good action crew. Arguably the action version of the Apatow camp, these guys know how to do action. Rather it be the Professional, or the first two Transporter films, only Neveldine and Taylor may be better to turn to when wanting a group to take over or make a fun, yet mindless action flick.
However, the true star of this film is Mr. Neeson. Age Jack Bower about 20 years, and have him retired, and actually badass, and you have Liam Neeson in Taken. He's not only a real badass, but the reason he is on the hunt, and how human he makes this character, is really well done. He's not suave like Bond, he's not a fighting robot like Bourne is, he's just a guy with some skills, on the hunt for the one thing in the world he loves most. His daughter. And he's willing to kill hundreds of men to get her. As would any father.
Visually, this film is also rather impressive. Luc Besson, best known for directing The Professional and The Fith Element, has recently been penning scripts for his proteges to take the helm of, and so far it's worked. The Transporter films are great, and while I don't think films are much more than throw away pieces of entertainment, for the time you sit there, it's worth your time.
Pierre Morel takes the helm for this one, and it looks like he's truly got a knack for action. The action scenes are very shaky and shot with a handheld camera sort of feel, but the interchanges between the father and daughter are truly where this film shines. The chemistry has to be there, and it seems like the father-daughter dynamic is truly there. They are also shot with a much more stable, steady cam feel, something that Mr. Bourne should take note of.
The film does have a couple of flaws. First, the supporting cast really doesn't hold their own in this one. Famke Janssen isn't very good in this film as the divorced wife, and neither is Maggie Grace, Kim, the daughter. While the script isn't the strongest, there is some real quality meat in those roles, and they just decided to go the other way. They aren't bad per se, but when Liam Neeson is hitting it out of the park as he did, it really shows. Also, as I said, the script isn't the strongest, but there is quality there, and while the action is great, when some of those scenes and a speech that EVERYONE has seen are the films major points, there are a few problems here.
Also, there is one thing that bugs me about this, and the genre as a whole.
When going into the theatre, one must realize that you will toss this film away when you ditch your soda and popcorn after the credits. There's no deep message to the film, no thought provoking moments, and nothing that will be sticking with you much beyond the parking lot. This isn't the Wrestler, it's Taken, and the trailers before it were 12 Rounds and Crank 2, so you have an idea of what you are getting into. There is the human aspect to it, and you can come out of the theatre thinking, "what would YOU do?" However, all is negated when you hear the audience asking themselves, "did you see him shoot the guys wife?" The film is insanely fun, and one I completely reccomend, I just would be interested in seeing an action film take a few notes out of Casino Royale's book, and give us a little more to chew on.
TAKEN - 7/10
Fun, intense, and f!@#ing adrenaline fueled, Taken features a new badass to throw on the Mt. Rushmore of kickassery, much in the vain of Charles Bronson or a film like Breakdown, but nothing much beyond that. A fun 99 minutes, but if you want something more, skip it. That said, I loved this film, so for 7 bucks, it's completely worth the money. Check it out!
Sorry for the short review, there's not much here, but I would love to hear what you all have to say about it!
Go see something good!
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