From the Editor

Movie Review Archive

Thank you for checking out my movie review archive. I'm in the process of transitioning to something else, so I will no longer post new reviews to this blog. In the meantime, I will keep these reviews archived; these are from the fall of 2008 to April 2011. Please watch this blog for more info and keep in touch (you can still find me on Facebook and Twitter). Here's to more great movies!

Wes Singleton

North Texas Film Critics Association

Friday, January 23, 2009

Taken - C

Rated PG-13 for intense sequences of violence, disturbing thematic material, sexual content, some drug references and language, 94 minutes

"Taken" borrows too much from Jason Bourne and other spies

One of my favorite movie series is the Jason Bourne movies starring Matt Damon. He's a mighty squirrly fellow and can get out of just about any situation and do it in a tensely compelling, believable manner. "Taken" is a mildly entertaining but unoriginal action spy thriller that borrows too much from Bourne and rips off just about every spy movie you've seen in the last 30 years. The best thing that "Taken" has going for it is its star Liam Neeson, who makes a good action hero in need of a better script.

Former government operative Bryan Mills (Neeson) gives up his government career to be closer to his 17-year old daughter Kim (Maggie Grace) and his ex-wife Lenore (Famke Janssen) who has since remarried. Ever the protective father, Bryan is constantly watching over Kim to the consternation of Lenore. With hesitancy, Bryan allows his daughter to take a trip to Paris with a friend but they are kidnapped by a highly secret and powerful organization that's responsible for slave trading young women across the globe. When Bryan finds out, he goes to Paris on the hunt for his daughter and to bring down the organization responsible for her disapperance.

"Taken" would be better if it offered something more than the unoriginal, lackluster and very deriviative script from "Transporter 3" scribes Luc Besson and Robert Mark Kamen, and lack of flair given it from French director Pierre Morel. You've seen this many times before, and done much better. The best thing "Taken" has is star Neeson, who is a game action hero who can keep up with Jason Bourne and the other but needs a better movie.

"Taken" is filled with standard car chases, rescue scenes and even torture scenes done better in everything from the Bourne movies to Robert Redford's "Three Days of the Condor" to "Marathon Man." Neeson gets to beat a lot of people senseless looking for his character's daughter, but you'll lose interest after the first 30 minutes. Janssen and Grace are hardly in it and don't register anything here; the last section in particular feels rushed and badly edited.

The climax ends too quickly, is too predictable, and pretty much standard spy shoot-em-up stuff. You won't remember much about "Taken" except how much better those other spy movies are.