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TAKEN (2009) *** ½

Every now and then the spirit of Charles Bronson will possess your average A List movie star and make them appear in a gritty revenge movie.  Two years ago, the spirit of Saint Chuck got a hold of Kevin Bacon and made him star in Death Sentence, which was more or less Death Wish 6.  Now Ol’ Chuck has been working his voodoo magic again and has taken over the body of Liam Neeson and forced him to star in this top notch revenge thriller.

 

Yeah, yeah, I know what you’re thinking:  Oskar Schindler is kicking ass and taking names?  Yes, it’s true.  And for all of those who think that Neeson isn’t a first rate ass-kicker, just take a look at him in this movie.  (You people forget that Neeson was Darkman after all.) 

 

Seriously, with those squinty eyes of his, all you’d have to do is slap a moustache on him and he could pass as Charles Bronson. 

 

Basically Liam is this retired spy dude who quit breaking bones for the government so he could be closer to his daughter (Maggie Grace).  When she goes to Paris on vacation, she gets abducted by a bunch of greasy Albanians who specialize in sex trafficking.  We all know what this means:

 

1.)     Liam’s got to fly to Paris.

2.)     Liam’s got to drive through the Albanians’ makeshift brothel with an SUV.

3.)     Liam’s got to grab those Albanian assholes and go all kinds of Guantanamo on them.

4.)     Liam’s got to rough up his colleague when he doesn’t help him find his daughter in a timely fashion.

5.)     Liam’s got to crash a flesh merchant auction and gun down several slimy Frenchies.

6.)     Liam’s got to jump onto a boat and kill a bunch of oily Arabs that purchased his daughter.

7.)     Liam’s got to shoot that pervert sheik right between the eyes for not only kidnapping his daughter, but for making him go to FRANCE of all places to find her.

 

I was really impressed with Neeson in this movie.  He didn’t take shit from no one and left a nice body count behind him.  The scene that REALLY shows you how much of a badass he is comes when he learns that his French helper guy is on the Albanian payroll.  Liam gets so mad that he shoots the dude’s WIFE just for inconveniencing him!  There’s being a badass and then there's being a badass.  That is some World Heavyweight Champion of Badassery right there.

 

The flick is not without its faults.  The set-up takes a long time (there’s a lot of rigmarole involving Liam being a bodyguard for a pop star) and the film is quite laborious at setting up Neeson as a father “who wasn’t there” for his daughter.  Once she gets kidnapped though, you’ll be on the edge of your seat for so long that you’ll probably end up with hemorrhoids. 

 

The Video Vacuum Takes It’s Hat Off to Taken for:

 

Being the Best Movie Golan-Globus Never Made.

 

Showing that the Spirit of Charles Bronson is Alive and Well and Currently Residing in Liam Neeson.

 

And for Some Truly Priceless Dialogue like, “I can have 38 agents here by the time it takes you to grab your worthless balls!”

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