Last night, my fiance and 2 newlywed friends of ours went to see Liam Neeson’s newest film at the Studio Movie Grill. For those of you who don’t live in Texas, its a movie theater that serves food and drinks right while you watch the movie. If you’re in Texas, I highly suggest going to one (Dallas and Houston only so far, sorry). If you’re outside of Texas, I’m sure there’s something similar. It’s a great way to experience a movie.
Taken has been out for a while and we were probably one of the last people to see it before it is “taken” out of the theaters, but I am so glad I saw it on the big screen. First off I loved this movie. About 30 minutes in when the action started hitting hard, I turned to my friend and said, “this is what The Bourne Identity should have been like”. I guess I should have expected this level of quality from Luc Besson (as a writer this time) when you look think of his past efforts like Leon, The Transporter…hell even Wasabi. This movie was amazing.
Liam Neenson (Bryan Mills) plays a retired secret agent who is just now starting to reconnect with his daughter years after he and his wife divorced. Now 17 he still imagines her as a little girl. His wife remarried a very successful businessman and he just can’t compete with the wealth the step-father lavishes on his daughter. After her 17th birthday, Bryan’s daughter Kim wants to go to Paris with her friend. Bryan, after some plot drama, concedes to Kim’s request but with some conditions: he gives her a cell phone, she must call him frequently and a list of dangerous areas to avoid. Soon after she and her friend arrive they are both abducted from the apartment they are staying. Kim calls Bryan and he listens to her entire ordeal. With about 96 hours before Kim disappears forever into the human traffic/prostitution underworld, Bryan blazes to Paris with all his contacts and skills to find Kim no matter what.
There was so much of this that was done well. The writing was above and beyond the cheesy and expected dialogue of the typical action/revenge flick. From the beginning, you got to know Bryan and, for a little bit, Kim. Although they did it quickly, you got to caring about them, so good job there. The movie starts slow but picks up and almost never eases off the throttle. This movie defines action in my opinion. Liam Neeson did an incredible job with the fight sequences, probably still in shape from Batman Begins I figure, but when he landed a punch, it looked like he landed it. He sold the secret agent part if you ask me (and BTW his fighting style looked to be Krav Maga, so said my 2 police-officer “newlywed” friends. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Krav_Maga)
The idea for the plot was not new “parent figure seeks lost/kidnapped child” but there was enough intricacy to make it new and interesting. Just when you thought the rabbit hole couldn’t go deeper, it went waaaay deeper. What I was most impressed (and also put off by) with was the number of layers in the human traffic/prostitution black market. Its kind of like how many steps a tree would take to become paper, except when you consider that these are human beings, its kind of sickening. Luc Besson and director Pierre Morel were a dream team. Luc’s dialogue was cold and to the point at the right moments and Liam’s delivery really sold it and brought you in more emotionally than any film I’ve seen in a while.
There’s not much here save for Liam’s age (but that was how the character was written so not really a fault). The story puts him just about 50 but he could still beat the crap out of any young punk. Towards the end I started to doubt the endurance that kept him fighting, then running, then fighting then shooting, then running, then jumping then fighting. I found similarities to the “no one can touch him” sequences in James Bond films . This felt like an early Jackie Chan movie, or maybe The Transporter, but Bryan’s character just didn’t seem like he could keep delivering everything he dished out. Adrenaline (and rage to get his daughter) could only take him so far, but it wasn’t until the end of the film that his ‘invincibility’ looked like it had worn off. I kind of imagined that this could have been a film Clint Eastwood may have done, had it been written 20 years ago.
A very good time had by all. This movie was supposed to come out last September (maybe The Dark Knight and Iron Man were too dominating at the box office so they waited) and for what ever reason it wasn’t. Personally I think this film could have stood up to the titans of any summer.
This ‘extraordinary’ film (and we’re excited to announce our catchphrase’s internet blogging debut) is a Great Cinematic Treasure.