ARROW IN THE HEAD REVIEWS

001602
Search by title # A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z
Taken (2008)
Written by: The Arrow
Director: Pierre Morel

Starring:
Liam Neeson/Bryan
Maggie Grace/Kim
Famke Janssen/Lenore
PLOT-CRUNCH
While on vacation in Paris, a tween gal (Grace) is kidnapped by pimping scumbags and then “rented” out. One thing the dumb-dumbs behind the coup didn’t anticipate though was that her dad is an ex spy and he’s played by Liam f*cking Neeson. You know what that means! Lots of whooped chumps – Neeson style!
THE LOWDOWN

I will look for you, I will find you and I will kill you. - Bryan

When I first saw the TAKEN teaser trailer with the “I will find you” monologue spat out by the great Liam Neeson, it was crystal clear to me from the get-go that it would be an Arrow Approved celluloid ride. It had my name written all over it! I recently got a shot at wrestling this mofo to the ground and making him mutter “uncle” and although not all that I thought it could’ve been, I still had a freaking blast with it!

Co-written by “macho man action king” Luc Besson; TAKEN was more in line with say the Besson penned KISS OF THE DRAGON than his masterpiece THE PROFESSIONAL. Any fat this flick could’ve had/used to have was kicked to the curb in favor of putting out a quick paced, Peyton Westlake cracks skulls and f*ck-starts heads shindig of fun. Straight up, once the relationships and initial premise established (in an affecting manner at that; the father/daughter thing so sold me) the gloves were ripped off and TAKEN started swinging.

All Qui-Gon Jinn did for an hour or so was go from place to place, f*ck dudes up, get info, which sent him to new locations where he would… you guessed it… bitch-slap more goons to get further info… and so forth. Think the A to B to C narrative structure of your usual revenge movie and you’ll get an idea of how this one worked. Thankfully, the varied spices within the action sequences (hand to hand, gunplay, stunts, torture) made sure that the two tricks pony nature of the narrative never got old. I could’ve watched Michael Collins show off his "people skills" for days man!

With that snapped, all of the candy wouldn’t have tasted half as sweet if the film’s hero wasn’t one I could root for. Neeson’s captivating performance as the loving and no-non-sense daddy-spy hit the spot. I so dug how he was always in control and ahead of the game. Shit, even while his daughter was getting bagged, the lad was two steps ahead. You got to respect that! It made for a cool hero trait. The undisputable fact that you can‘t get much cooler than Rob Roy throwing down and talking out the trash, helped as well. Add to all that a razor pace, frenetic editing that jacked up the restless vibe of the situation, a couple of hard hitting emotional scenes (the kidnapping had me) and some great bits of dialogue and you get simple flick that got the job done!

Alas, striving for such a furious pace came with a price: the potential depth the film could’ve had. Once Kinsey switched on, all of the secondary characters dropped out of the movie. The worried mother, the daughter’s POV as to her ordeal – NATHING on them. Just Henri Ducard kicking ass. The flick would’ve been stronger as whole if it would’ve capitalized on the emotional hand grenades that this kind of situation would’ve detonated, but hey, it wasn’t its M.O. – so be it. Lastly, some of the hand to hand fights were cut a litte too tight and close for my liking. Why American editors keep splicing fisticuffs so we don’t see squat is still beyond me.

By and large, TAKEN shamelessly entertained this simpleton for an hour and half. No frills, no pretenses, just Liam Neeson mowing through human trash to get his daughter back. Nothing wrong with that! Give me a SEQUELLLLLL!

GORE
If brutality, deadly karate chops to the throat, a home made electric chair, rods stabbed in knees and mucho bullet wounds talk to ya – you’ll be well stroked here.
ACTING
Liam Neeson has presence and acting chops to burn period. Hence he owned hard as the loving dada who happens to be a deadly assassin. LOVE THAT DUDE! Maggie Grace (Kim) nailed her part! Her tender scenes with Neeson and her scared shitless bits when getting napped hit hard. Famke Janssen (Lenore) didn’t have much of a role (so obvious her subplot wound up on the cutting room floor), but she played “bitch” very well.
T & A
Tween girls, drugged up and banged… nothing arousing here – somewhat disturbing on the other back-hand? YES!
DIRECTING
Director Pierre Koral was of the Paul Greengrass/Bourne Supremacy school of directing. Lots of hand-held shakiness for better (as it echoed the stress of the situation) and for worse (sometimes I couldn’t see what was happening).
SOUNDTRACK
A well put together score that fit both the film’s action and emotional bill.
BOTTOM LINE
Ask yourself this question: Would witnessing Liam Neeson pummel suckers into Apple Sauce for an hour or so appeal to me? If you answer YES then TAKEN is right up your alley, cause once the set up out of the way, that’s what it was all about. Sure the affair could’ve fleshed out and capitalized on its characters/subplots further – would’ve turned it into a fuller film, but hey; it just wanted to be a straight action flick –hard for me to look down on it for that.
BULL'S EYE
Pierre Morel also helmed the actioner District 13.

The Messenger was the last US flick Luc Besson directed.

VISIT THE TAKEN OFFICIAL SITE HERE

Strikeback
Not registered? Sign-up!
Or

10:44AM on 03/10/2010

Very entertaining if a Way Out-There thriller.

It`s been awhile, i haven`t watched an truly entertaining action movie in a while. Liam Neeson is very good in this movie, i thought he was more believable than Matt Damon in those "Bourne" movies.

It`s an extremely well made action movie that never slows down and keeps things moving. It`s very mean-spirited at times but it works with this kind of movie. One of the best scripts that Luc Besson (The Fifth Element) and Robert Mark Kamen (The Karate Kid) wrote together.

Yes, it is a little
It`s been awhile, i haven`t watched an truly entertaining action movie in a while. Liam Neeson is very good in this movie, i thought he was more believable than Matt Damon in those "Bourne" movies.

It`s an extremely well made action movie that never slows down and keeps things moving. It`s very mean-spirited at times but it works with this kind of movie. One of the best scripts that Luc Besson (The Fifth Element) and Robert Mark Kamen (The Karate Kid) wrote together.

Yes, it is a little hard to believe Maggie Grace as a teenage but at least, she lost some weight and coloring her hair to make herself look younger. The movie is often funny, when it is lightly amusing or darkly humourous.

It`s easy why this movie went on to be a major hit worldwide. It`s well done, fast, mean and very furious.
Your Reply:



9:43PM on 08/31/2009
An thrilling, entertaining revenge/thriller that was fast paced and I had a great time watching Liam Neeson outsmarting and kicking major @ss! I just think that this concept has been done to death now and it no longer comes off as fresh anymore, it was like a cross between Bourne Identity, Trade and Man On Fire but they still manage to pull it off so I have to give them props for that. The acting was good from some and ok and lackluster from others, Liam Leeson is the only standout in this
An thrilling, entertaining revenge/thriller that was fast paced and I had a great time watching Liam Neeson outsmarting and kicking major @ss! I just think that this concept has been done to death now and it no longer comes off as fresh anymore, it was like a cross between Bourne Identity, Trade and Man On Fire but they still manage to pull it off so I have to give them props for that. The acting was good from some and ok and lackluster from others, Liam Leeson is the only standout in this department. The directing was pretty good nothing great but the action scenes make up for that. Overall I found myself not being as impressed with it as I thought I would be but it's still a great time at the movies so I gave it 3 stars. Check it out!
Your Reply:



+0
1:21PM on 06/22/2009
Not too bad. Not too good either, but certainly a better way to spend a couple of hours than with a Seagal movie. And it's true, you really can't go wrong with Liam Neeson. He magically transforms the most mediocre film into something more watchable and entertaining.

Arabian_Neo: It's nothing personal, the filmmakers just know their market. After all, you could say it's not only racist but kind of sexist too. I guess you could define it as a sub-genre: "reactionary cinema". Conservatives
Not too bad. Not too good either, but certainly a better way to spend a couple of hours than with a Seagal movie. And it's true, you really can't go wrong with Liam Neeson. He magically transforms the most mediocre film into something more watchable and entertaining.

Arabian_Neo: It's nothing personal, the filmmakers just know their market. After all, you could say it's not only racist but kind of sexist too. I guess you could define it as a sub-genre: "reactionary cinema". Conservatives whine about liberal bias in the media, but it doesn't stop right-wing movies like this being made (and nor should it).

By the way, if you're tired of Arabs being demonised in movies, try being from the South-East of England! Hollywood singles us out (not the Scots, the Welsh, or even the English from other regions) as being uniquely evil. After all, Mel Gibson waged a personal vendetta against us before he decided to harass Jews instead. I am kidding of course - I'm sure our actors are glad to get the work playing despicable villains.
Your Reply:



2:42AM on 03/18/2009
So, the minute an American girl steps out of the Land of Security, she's a victim of sex freaks who are in the service of (yet another) nasty-looking Arab who buys women for pleasure? I am sick and tired of this RACISM towards Arabs in movies.
And yes.. I am Arab. I know it's just a move, but go count how many films in the past has made us look like purely inhuman monsters.

Some action scenes were ok. But the whole movie was just too over-the-top and RACIST for my taste.
So, the minute an American girl steps out of the Land of Security, she's a victim of sex freaks who are in the service of (yet another) nasty-looking Arab who buys women for pleasure? I am sick and tired of this RACISM towards Arabs in movies.
And yes.. I am Arab. I know it's just a move, but go count how many films in the past has made us look like purely inhuman monsters.

Some action scenes were ok. But the whole movie was just too over-the-top and RACIST for my taste.
Your Reply:



+0
12:11PM on 02/14/2009

Great Movie!!

Simplicity at it's best! I haven't gotten this much satisfaction out of an old school action/revenge film in years. Money well spent and Liam Neeson was amazing, this guy can make any character believable. My fav line: ***SPOILERS*** When Marko is begging for his life and gives up the last bit of info, Neeson picks up his coat, looks at him and say "I believe you...but that won't save you.", and flicks the switch back on. I wanted to scream my approval. A must see!
Simplicity at it's best! I haven't gotten this much satisfaction out of an old school action/revenge film in years. Money well spent and Liam Neeson was amazing, this guy can make any character believable. My fav line: ***SPOILERS*** When Marko is begging for his life and gives up the last bit of info, Neeson picks up his coat, looks at him and say "I believe you...but that won't save you.", and flicks the switch back on. I wanted to scream my approval. A must see!
Your Reply:



+0
8:22PM on 01/30/2009
Shows how good a simple revenge flick can be with the right people. Liam is brilliant.
Shows how good a simple revenge flick can be with the right people. Liam is brilliant.
Your Reply:



5:41PM on 08/11/2008

Bottom line

Bottom line is it's the French movie where an American is an ass-kicking good guy while (SPOILER!) Albanians, Arabs and some French are the bad ones! Politically Incorrect as it goes. So much for "casual" French anti-Americanism...
Bottom line is it's the French movie where an American is an ass-kicking good guy while (SPOILER!) Albanians, Arabs and some French are the bad ones! Politically Incorrect as it goes. So much for "casual" French anti-Americanism...
Your Reply:



Mistress Of The Week

More
Argyris, Michelle