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  • Acceptable Targets:
    • Apparently the French, who produced this film, still don't like Albanians. They also take shots at the French police. Possibly also the Swiss and Muslims, referring to Patrice St. Clair and the sheik in the final showdown, as well as sex traders/human traffickers, but it'd take an especially oozy bleeding-heart to feel sorry for them over the poor women they abduct.
    • The Albanian gangsters are also Muslim, as shown with the funeral in the second film and the traditional Islamic greeting of "salaam alaykum" that they give each other.
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    • Luc Besson has a similar attitude to the French justice system as American 80s action films have to the US justice system: the "establishment" (judges, prosecutors and police chiefs) are impotent or corrupt, but one or two Cowboy Cops can strike a telling blow for justice.
  • And You Thought It Would Fail: Liam Neeson himself never expected this movie to be very successful; not only was it a success, it cemented his image of a badass action star.
  • Critical Dissonance:
    • Although Taken got generally lukewarm reactions from critics, it was very popular with moviegoers and grossed over $200 million worldwide.
    • The sequel got harsher criticism, but box office was still fine. It eventually became one of the most successful French movies ever worldwide, surpassing the first by more than $100 million.
  • Director Displacement: Luc Besson produced and co-wrote the films, yet didn't direct any of them.
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  • Ending Fatigue: Taken 3. First, there's the climactic Storming the Castle final shootout on Oleg Malankov's hideout, which ends with Bryan defeating Malankov. Then, Malankov reveals that he was merely The Dragon to Stuart's plan all along, with Stuart having played both Bryan and Malankov. Stuart wounds Sam and kidnaps Kim, forcing Bryan to chase after Stuart to an airport in a Porsche and eventually ramming it into the wheels of Stuart's plane, where he climbs out of the wreckage and is ultimately subdued by Bryan by being shot and by being knocked out when Bryan pistol whips him.
  • Escapist Character: Bryan is this for the middle-aged set. Despite being a middle-aged divorcee, he's still freakishly competent on his quest(s) to save his family (that does still love him, deep down), including rescuing his (explicitly) virginal college-aged daughter.
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  • Family-Unfriendly Aesop: Liam Neeson has stated that since the film came out, people have come up to him and said they will never send their kids to Europe and thanked him for making this movie to warn them. He's not too thrilled about that.
  • Fan Disservice: The scene near the end where the underwear clad girls are being auctioned.
  • First Installment Wins: It's commonly agreed that the original film was the best.
  • Fridge Logic: In Mark Kermode's review of the first film, he posed a question for viewers during the climax - who's driving the boat?
  • Genius Bonus: The first film has a scene where a father is telling his two children the story of "Little Red Riding Hood". The story has often been cited as a cautionary tale against speaking to strangers and the dangers of the sex trade...both of which are themes that appear in the film.
  • Harsher in Hindsight: The fact the whole series is driven by revenge and desire to avenge and protect loved ones gets a LOT harder to look at now that Liam Neeson admitted that he once considered killing a black person out of revenge because his friend was raped.
  • Homegrown Hero: It's about a certain someone taking on a Parisian sex slave ring - that someone is Liam Neeson as a retired CIA agent.
  • I Am Not Shazam: The characters on BoJack Horseman think Bryan Mills' name is Mr. Taken.
  • Idiot Plot:
    • The kidnappers could have saved themselves a lot of trouble if they just let her go and dropped her off at the US Embassy the moment they realized who Kimi was, who her father was, and the fact that he was in Paris looking for them.
    • Kim's idiot friend simply lets some stranger she doesn't know take a picture of them, and then go with them to the place they're staying at.
  • Memetic Mutation:
    • The website True LAD (think stereotypical "lads" story in the style of FML or IMMD) will occasionally see a story about Taken or at least referencing it, presumably due to Neeson's sheer badassery. These stories range from just quoting the "I will find you..." line, saying how even though they have it on DVD, will be watching it on the TV later, or claiming how if they'd saved Holly Valance from being stabbed they'd ask for more than free singing lessons for their daughter... All these "stories" invariably have high numbers of votes up.
    • More generally, the "I will find you and I will kill you" speech is frequently quoted, and the specifics of it are often swapped to apply it to other Liam Neeson roles.
    • The satirical Youtube series CinemaSins gives a sin for every scene Liam Neeson is not killing someone due to this movie. They (and many others) also liken Neeson to a God of badassery.
    • Liam Neeson climbing a fence has practically become a byword for overdone editing.
  • Narm:
    • In the third film, the blood in the hall is literally the only sign that Lenore is dead, as there's no blood at all on the body, the bed, or even the murder weapon. Bryan later says her throat was slashed, which would cause massive bleeding, but we see no evidence of this.
    • Dotzler's winning logic for why Bryan couldn't have killed Lenore: "the bagels were still warm."
    • Good luck trying to take the final fight between Bryan and Malankov seriously as the latter spends most of the fight in tighty-whities.
    • The fence jump. For the 12 cuts it packs into such a simple scene.
  • One-Scene Wonder: The hilariously out-of-his-depth translator that Bryan hires as well as the Affably Evil Punch-Clock Villain he talks to after being captured.
  • Rescued from the Scrappy Heap: Or the Hate Sink in this case, but many people have forgiven Lenny for her Took a Level in Kindness in the sequel.
  • "Seinfeld" Is Unfunny: Much like Leslie Nielsen in Airplane!, Liam Neeson was able to use this film to completely change his career track into a bunch of other badass old man roles, meaning younger viewers may find it hard to appreciate how shocking it was at the time to see such a serious, highbrow actor doing a film like this.
  • Signature Scene: Bryan's Badass Boast to the kidnappers.
  • Spiritual Licensee: Many people feel this was the best 24 movie ever.
  • Sequelitis: The Taken series got bad reviews with each sequel, but the third is considered the weakest.
  • Surprisingly Improved Sequel: Some fans do find the third film to be superior to the second.
  • Unintentionally Unsympathetic: Murad. He's supposed to be a Tragic Villain who's Not So Different from Bryan. However, his Hypocrisy and desire to knowingly continue his dead son's human-trafficking quickly turn him into just another Card-Carrying Villain. Even more so when he ultimately fails Bryan's Secret Test of Character with flying colors, thus earning himself an undignified death for such Stupid Evil.
  • What an Idiot!: You've just kidnapped two girls and broken the cellphone one was using. Would you (A) just leave the scene or (B) assure that the data storage card got broken with the phone? Nah, just pick (A) and give the investigator a lead. To be fair, they likely figured that Bryan's Badass Boast was just a bluff, and that anyone who would be investigating the kidnapping would be on their side anyway since they had members of the police bought and paid-for. They never counted on their being an immensely capable Papa Wolf who could track them down with nothing to go on but two words. The point where they become true idiots is when they catch wind that there's someone from the US who's in Paris carving a swath of death and destruction of anyone who dares stand between him and his daughter. At that point, they should've handed her over to him... not that that would've saved them anyway, but still.

Bryan: "If you don't clean up this Natter, I will look for you. I will find you. And I will kill you."

Miniseries

  • Alternative Character Interpretation: The aliens.
    • Are they truly emotionless beings that have no concept of good or evil?
      • They never intentionally kill anyone and don't conquer the planet despite their huge technological superiority.
    • On the other hand even the aliens seemingly act with more wanton cruelty than is necessary. Instead of whisking away a pregnant Lisa Clarke from pursuing agents (they can beam people through solid walls), they surround her with a dangerous energy field that burns anyone approaching it.
  • Cliché Storm: Largely the point.
  • Complete Monster: Owen Crawford is a Colonel of the United States Air Force and the head of their secret UFO Project. Ruthless and ambitious, Owen used his charming demeanor to convince his superior's daughter, Anne, to marry him in order to further his career and gain control of the UFO Project, blackmailing him with an alien artifact found by his girlfriend Sue who he beats to death to keep quiet. When trying to reverse-engineer the spaceship they found, he has a pair of psychic twins attempt to pilot the craft, leaving them in there longer than humanly safe which leads to their deaths, remarking that they were already dead when they arrived. Owen then goes after the half-alien child Jacob Clarke, having an affair with Jacob's mother Sally, using her loneliness to get to Jacob so he can have him fly the ship and then kill and dissect him to discover the source of his powers. He is also a cruel and horrible leader, husband and father, threatening to send his wife to an asylum for her alcoholism and treating his son Eric with little respect or love, and forsakes the life of Dr. Kreutz. When Anne reveals his secrets to their sons, Owen has her sent away to a hospital, only to kill her and Bowen and frame the latter for their deaths. A cruel and unfeeling sociopath, Owen would do anything to learn the aliens' secrets, even sacrificing his own family and loved ones to do so.
  • Hilarious in Hindsight: Emily Bergl played Lisa Clarke, a one-quarter alien woman, in the series. She later played another one-quarter alien woman, Bethany, in the Star Trek: Enterprise episode "North Star".
  • Jerkass Woobie:
    • Eric Crawford, despite becoming like his father Owen and letting his brother Sam die in Alaska, does warrant some sympathy. He is The Unfavorite of the family and was emotionally abused by his father who favored his brother Sam over him. Unlike his father, Eric genuinely regrets his heinous actions and wanted to repent for them, even believing that with Becky he could become a better man. When his daughter Mary attempts to trap Allie and her parents, Eric tries to warn them before he is shot dead. And the reason that his father hated him? Because Jacob showed Owen that in his final moments, Eric would be there and dreaded the day when he would die and took out his fear and anger on his son.
    • Ray Morrison is this in spades. He starts off as a rude and ill-tempered asshole who insults everyone and casts doubt on his therapy group's abduction stories, even pulling a gun on them and takes them hostage which leads to Charlie getting shot. However his actions become more understandable when it's revealed he was molested as a child, and made up the story about being abducted by aliens because he refused to believe a human is capable of such a heinous crime. Thankfully Ray is completely remorseful for what he has done and by the time we see him again in the series finale he helps defend Allie against the army.
  • Les Yay: Lisa and Nina.
  • Retroactive Recognition:
    • Dakota Fanning played Allie Keys, narrating all ten episodes and appearing in the last four.
    • Anton Yelchin played Jacob Clarke in "Jacob and Jesse" and "High Hopes".
    • Ryan Hurst played Tom Clarke in "Jacob and Jesse", "High Hopes", "Maintenance", "Charlie and Lisa" and "Taken".
    • Elle Fanning played the three-year-old Allie in the final scene of "Charlie and Lisa".
    • Justin Chatwin played Clauson in the final two episodes "John" and "Taken".
  • Squick:
    • The relationship between Mary and Dr. Wakeman, even if it's for this line alone after they have sex in "Charlie and Lisa":
    Dr. Wakemen: I've wanted this since you were 13.
    Mary: Me too.
    • In "Charlie and Lisa", the image of the creepy carny often used by the aliens says, "Lisa, today you are a woman" to the 13-year-old Lisa Clarke shortly after her first period.
  • Unintentionally Unsympathetic:
    • The townspeople of Hyder, Alaska in "Acid Tests", excluding the little girl Wendy, her mother and Leo. When we learn why the Sheriff murdered Larry, we're supposed to understand and feel somewhat sorry towards them due to them not being able to successfully provide for the town without their farm animals. But the problem is that they spent the entire episode acting like stupid jackasses for no reason, especially the Sheriff who straight-up refuses to help the archaeological team when one of their own goes missing. Because of this, Sam is able to figure out and learn about the conspiracy plaguing the town and leads to him finding out about Lester. Had the Sheriff actually done his job correctly and been less of a hostile asshole towards the group, then they would have left things alone. Wendy's mother at first suffers from this, but appears to subvert it when she hears that her daughter was actually saved by Lester, and she can only look on silence as Lester's cabin is set on fire.
    • Tom Clarke in his adulthood can be like this, given that the reason why he started to try and debunk the government's alien conspiracy was out of revenge against Owen Crawford, and not the fact that the government is hiding stuff from the public. He also mocks his mother's belief in aliens as well as denies the fact that they witness something despite his brother Jacob having powers, a fact he refuses to acknowledge as proof until he uses them to create a projection of John. His "The Reason You Suck" Speech to Becky is supposed to be seen as him trying to make her come back to her senses, but his words and demeanor are very toxic towards his sister, almost sounding like he doesn't care about Becky's happiness. While he more or less is right, Tom still acted very vindictive and appears to believe that all the Crawfords are bad people simply because of Owen.
  • The Woobie: Jesse Keys. Out of all the characters in the series and within his family, Jesse had it the roughest. First his father Russell leaves him and his mother in order to try and protect him from the aliens, then once they see each other again Jesse becomes the aliens' next subject, in which he is experimented on repeatedly for 10 days (which happened when he was still a boy). When he and his father go to the Air Force to tell them what they know, Owen double crosses them and detains Jesse and has Russell sedated to remove his implant, leading to the building and everyone in it catching on fire and die, only for Jesse to be taken by the aliens again. When he joins the Vietnam War, he openly tried to kill himself several times, only to be saved by the aliens but also leaving him with survivor's guilt when his squadmates were killed instead. He does have at least 9 years of happiness with his wife and son Charlie, but when he begins to be targeted again, he tries to seek help in removing his implant so he won't hurt his family, but when the UFO Project tries to take him again, he escapes and tries to save Charlie from the aliens. Jesse's implant is removed by the aliens who apparently are tired of him resisting, but this leads Jesse to become near-catatonic for the rest of his life and become a broken shell of his former self. The only thing he can say to his son Charlie when he is now a man is to furiously yell for him to leave as they are coming for him. Of all the characters in the series, Jesse has suffered the most.
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