Every year The Queen and I say the same thing – we’re going to do our hardest to see all the nominees for Best Picture for the upcoming Oscars. So the other day we decided we’d hit the town and check out a flick. But rather than choose Slumdog Millionaire or The Curious Case of Benjamin Button, we decided on something where neither one of us had to think too hard. No, we didn’t land on He’s Just Not that Into You (I wasn’t into that). Instead we went with the brand new Liam Neeson flick Taken.
The Queen doesn’t typically want to check out the action films in theatres but according to her, Taken “looked like a good action movie…and I like Liam Neeson”. Excellent reasons, especially the one about liking Neeson. Who doesn’t? The guy made The Phantom Menace bearable, brought a lion to life in The Chronicles of Narnia, and made a cool R’as Al Ghoul in Batman Begins. But even with some solid geek credentials to his name, I don’t think I’ve ever considered Liam Neeson to be the sort of actor who could carry an action flick. Happy to be wrong.
The story in a nutshell: Liam Neeson plays a former government op that reluctantly allows his naïve 17-year old daughter go to Paris for the summer with a friend. Upon their arrival, the girls are immediately kidnapped and Neeson has 96 hours to get his daughter back.
I thought Neeson did an excellent job in the role. It calls for him to be totally cool under pressure, and he pulls it off perfectly. Every move his character makes is totally methodical, and while he may be running on emotion, it never seems to get in the way.
Playing the kidnapped daughter Kim was Maggie Grace, whom you may remember as Shannon on Lost. Although she’s 25 years old, Grace does an excellent job at playing an awkward 17 year old in Taken. She runs funny, she giggles like a teen, and really makes you feel sympathetic for the character’s plight. I may not have bought Grace’s romance on Lost with Naveen Andrews’ Sayid, but I totally saw her as teenager who screws up royally.
Taken moves quickly, running a brisk 90 minutes, but its fight scenes and car chases seemed too brisk. Both the Queen and I thought the cuts were so quick, it was hard to keep focused on what was going on with all the action, almost like a strobe light effect. Not necessarily good qualities in an action film. Luckily, the acting and the story were still compelling, rising Taken above the typical no-brainer, violent flicks.
It may not win any Oscars, but Taken isn’t a bad way to spend your hard earned money at the movies. At least until Watchmen hits theatres 🙂