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YMMV / Taken

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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 Grandpa 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 lowest.
  • 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.

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


  • 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.
  • Bizarro Episode: "Acid Tests" is unusual in that it focuses most of its attention on Sam Crawford uncovering the existence of another Half-Human Hybrid named Lester in Alaska, which is only tangentially connected to the series' main story arc. Perhaps in recognition of this, none of the Alaska scenes feature narration from Allie. Furthermore, it is the only episode to exclude one of the three families, namely the Clarkes. However, Tom Clarke does play an important off-screen role as he ruins Owen Crawford's career by making him think that the aliens created the Crop Circles.
  • Cliché Storm: Largely the point.
  • 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".
  • 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.

Example of: