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Taken is a 2008 action thriller film starring Liam Neeson, Famke Janssen, and Maggie Grace. It is based on a script by Luc Besson and Robert Mark Kamen and was directed by Pierre Morel. Neeson plays a former Central Intelligence Agency paramilitary operative who sets about tracking down his teenage daughter after she is kidnapped by slave traders while traveling in Europe.

Plot

Retired, decorated, highly-trained veteran CIA operative Bryan Mills (Liam Neeson) picks out a karaoke machine for the birthday of his seventeen-year-old daughter, Kim (Maggie Grace). When Bryan gets to Kim's house, he gives her the present, but is upstaged by Kim's stepfather Stuart (Xander Berkeley), who gives her a horse.

After leaving the party, three of his friends arrive at his house for the steak party that was forgotten by Mills. As they leave, Bryan's friend and former CIA colleague Sam (Leland Orser) convinces Bryan to take up a job with him: working as bodyguards for the famous singer Sheerah (Holly Valance). When the concert ends Bryan escorts Sheerah out of the venue and manages to fend off an attacker earning favor with the singer and, through her, music coaches and record label owner's numbers. The next day, he has lunch with his daughter, only to find that Lenore (Famke Janssen) has accompanied her so they can persuade Bryan to sign a parental consent form allowing Kim to go to Paris with her 19-year-old friend, Amanda (Katie Cassidy). Bryan agrees on the condition that Kim calls him immediately once she lands and every night thereafter.

When they arrive, Kim and Amanda meet Peter (Nicolas Giraud) who persuades the two to share a taxi. When they arrive where the girls are staying, he tells the girls that his friend is having a party and offers to pick them up, obtaining their apartment number. As he leaves, he opens his cell phone and gives information about the girls to an unknown person.

While on the phone with Bryan, Kim witnesses Amanda being abducted. Bryan informs her that she will be taken as well, and gives her instructions. As Kim is being taken, she shouts out as much about her kidnapper as she can before she is knocked out. One of the kidnappers takes the phone and listens to a threat from Bryan before smashing the phone. Bryan made a recording of the call, and Sam analyzes it. Sam tells Bryan that the kidnappers are the Albanian Mafia, and they are part of a gang dealing largely in sex slaves. Bryan contacts Stuart to secure a private plane, and travels immediately to Paris.

In Paris, Bryan tracks down Peter, who is hit by a bus after trying to escape, and then meets up with his old friend, Jean-Claude (Olivier Rabourdin). Bryan needs to know where the Albanians could be. Jean-Claude claims that there are many Albanians in Paris. Bryan then learns of an Albanian-run brothel at a nearby construction site. At the brothel Bryan is unable to find Kim or Amanda but instead rescues another girl who was in possession of Kim's jacket. After rescuing the girl, Bryan takes her to a hotel and meets up with another friend, Gilles, who is working as a hotel manager. Next day, the girl tells him that she had been given the jacket at a particular house where Kim and the gang may be. He follows the girl’s advice and finds the house. Bryan kills almost the entire gang after recognizing the voice from the phone call. Bryan searches the rooms of the house and finds many drugged, imprisoned sex slaves, including Kim's friend Amanda, who died from an apparent overdose.

Bryan then tortures the surviving gang leader for information. The gang leader reveals that Kim was sold to a man named Patrice Saint-Clair (Gérard Watkins) before Bryan leaves him in an active electric chair. Bryan then appears at Jean-Claude's apartment and confronts him about his apparent dealings with the Albanian smugglers, threatening him by shooting his wife but not killing her. Bryan, posing as Jean-Claude, then goes to a party hosted by Saint-Clair.

Bryan tracks down Kim just as she is being sold in a darkened room but is subdued before he can stage a rescue. After regaining consciousness and liberating himself from his captors, Bryan finds Saint-Clair and kills him, but not before finding out where Kim was taken. Bryan tracks down the yacht belonging to the Arab sheikh that bought Kim. Bryan boards the yacht and kills all the guards on board. He then kills the sheikh and frees his daughter. Bryan comforts Kim and takes her back to the United States. At the L.A. airport, Kim is reunited with Lenore and Stuart. A couple of days later, Bryan surprises Kim with a visit to Sheerah's house to help improve her singing.

Cast



Production

The film was produced by Luc Besson's Europacorp. It was filmed mostly in Parismarker with about the first 30 minutes taking place in Los Angelesmarker. Recognizable points in the movie are The Staples Centermarker, and Los Angeles International Airportmarker in L.A and the Eiffel Towermarker and Paris-Charles de Gaulle Airportmarker in Paris.

Distribution

Taken premiered in France on February 27, 2008, with releases in the United Kingdom and United States following on September 26, 2008 and January 30, 2009, respectively. In Germany, the film was released under the title 96 Hours.

Versions

Pierre Morel stated that 20th Century Fox (this film's United States distributor) forced him to re-edit this film for its United States theatrical release (so it could receive a PG-13 rating). Later, 20th Century Fox released this film's original version as 'Extended Cut' on DVD and Blu-ray. The 'Extended Cut' has more violence which was cut from the US theatrical release.

Reception

On its opening day in the United States, the film grossed $9.4 million, scoring the best opening day ever for Super Bowl weekend. The film has grossed $144,249,920 in the United States and Canada, and $76,179,630 overseas, for a worldwide total of $220,429,550.

Although very profitable and successful with audiences as a whole, the movie has received mixed reviews from professional critics. Dan Kois of the Washington Post described the film as "a satisfying thriller as grimly professional as its efficient hero" and likens the action to the Bourne series. Derek Elley of Variety described the film as a "kick ass, pedal-to-the-metal actioner." He added, "Besson alum Pierre Morel ... wisely doesn't give the viewer any time to ponder the string of unlikely coincidences in the script by Besson and regular scribe Robert Mark Kamen. From the actual kidnapping—breathlessly staged with Kim actually on the phone with dad—to Bryan arriving in Paris and immediately causing a pileup outside the airport, pic has the forward, devil-may-care momentum of a Bond movie on steroids." He went on to say, the "widescreen package is technically slick at all levels, and ditto the action choreography, in a cartoonish way." Kenneth Turan, of the The Los Angeles Times, described the premise of Taken as "a brisk and violent action programmer that can't help being unintentionally silly at times... Obviously, Taken is not the kind of action film to spend much time worrying about its pedestrian script or largely indifferent acting, so it's fortunate to have Neeson in the starring role." He characterized Bryan Mills as "a relentless attack machine who is impervious to fists, bullets and fast-moving cars, he uses a variety of martial skills to knock out more opponents than Mike Tyson and casually kill those he doesn't KO."

The film opened to mixed to favorable reviews with a 57% rotten rating on Rotten Tomatoes.

The film has been compared to the television series 24: with Neeson's character compared to Jack Bauer and Grace's role of Kim Mills to Kim Bauer. Xander Berkeley, who played George Mason on 24, also has a small role in the film. Additionally, the action takes place knowing that Mills has a time limit of 96 hours, after which it is unlikely his search will be successful.

DVD sales

Taken was released on May 12, 2009 on DVD. Since November 1, 2009 the DVD has sold 3,926,197 copies generating $62,769,163 in sales. As of November 1, 2009 the film has received a total of $288,230,490 in Box office and DVD sales..

Sequel

Robert Mark Kamen revealed that a sequel for the film is already in the works.

References

  1. 96 Hours - moviepilot.de. Retrieved 2009-11-23.
  2. Exclusive: Pierre Morel Talks Taken from ComingSoon.net
  3. Taken (2009) (2-Disc Extended Cut) Review from IGN
  4. [http://www.the-numbers.com/movies/2009/TAKEN.php.


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