Take the most risible, Reagan era action movie plot of "rescue the missing daughter"
and update it to a darker and edgier 2008 setting, and you have Taken
. Perhaps what I enjoy most about the whole movie is its the doggedly un-ironic and straight-faced portrayal of the kind of silly, empowerment
fantasies we had grown to look back on with a smirking affection.
In this movie, Liam Neeson plays a distant, yet over-protective father who must rescue his daughter after she gets kidnapped in Paris. In any other movie, he would be mocked as a paranoid and gung-ho dad; the kind who distrusts his immigrant neighbours and keeps a room full of loaded guns. In this movie though, his fears about going on holiday turn out to be 100% justified. Within minutes of setting foot in Paris, the stupid daughter
hands over her name, address and bust/waist/hip sizes to a complete stranger, who just so happens to be a Albanian sex trafficker. Luckily, Liam Neeson
just so happens to be some kind of ex-CIA agent, giving him the skills necessary to track down his daughter. Those skills mostly revolve around beating up France
In this action movie, the fighting is of the pragmatic and ferocious style which passes for "realistic" these days. What isn't so realistic is the way he seems to battle through armies of French, Baltic and Muslim criminals over the course of a couple of days, without ever having to stop for a breather. Whilst the gritty depiction of torture, fist fighting, and the sex trade lend the film a real-worldy feel, this movie is still locked in the 80s mindset of "dubiously American ass kicker kills hundreds of foreigners".
Overall, it is an okay action movie. Amusing for its seriousness and its dated story, but with enough action and style to keep it interesting none-the-less. The dark look into sex-trafficking does put a damper on what should be a dumb-popcorn flick, but it doesn't ruin the movie.