Liam Neeson plays Bryan, a former US spy who has to single-handedly save his estranged teenage daughter from an international sex-slave cartel after she is kidnapped while holidaying in Paris. Chances were that Taken was not going to be a good film. Writers Luc Besson (who also produced) and Robert Mark Kamen had recently collaborated on the scripts for The Transporter films and Bandidas, and director Pierre Morel was the cinematographer on The Transporter and Danny the Dog.
A degree of implausibility is inevitable in action films but Taken is beyond ludicrous. Characters are one-dimensional, the dialogue is trite and even the action scenes are bland. Taken is the opposite end of the spectrum from the masterful Bourne films.
But even worse is the film’s regressive message that virginal American girls should not go abroad as bad men from the Middle East and Eastern Europe will ravage them. Bryan’s lack of concern towards all the non-American girls being held captive is extremely worrying but not as much as the scene where he is completely vindicated for sadistically torturing a suspect. Neo-cons will probably love Taken but everybody else should avoid.