Friday, February 27, 2009

"Taken" Review: Spoiler Alert

First off, I want to just go on the record by saying that I love love love Liam Neeson.  I'm pretty sure that I have sung his praises here before, but if you have not seen him in "Schindler's List", you have never seen Liam Neeson.  He was BRILLIANT and magnetic and mesmerizing in that role.

So, I tend to see his movies.  I had heard that this was a good action movie.  I was good in that sense - lots of action, car chases, shoot outs, fights a la "Die Hard".  I was definitely entertained when I wasn't covering my eyes or ears to avoid the blood-shots. **WARNING**- I may  give away some parts of the plot you don't want to know about...

Here's my problem:  The premise is a dad who was in the spy biz retires to be near his daughter to try to make up for lost time.  He keeps a scrapbook of her birthday pictures and longs to have a stronger relationship with his 17 year old daughter who was played by Maggie Grace.  His ex-wife was played by Famke Janssen.  The daughter wants to go to Europe with a friend for the summer to follow U2's tour, but tells Dad she will be staying in an apartment in Paris to go to museums.  The ex-wife is in on the lie.  Ummm...HELLO?  Ask for trouble much?  The first second they girls are in Paris, they are scammed by a guy and the "friend" not only agrees to go to a party with the guy, but leads him to their apartment when they share a taxi and tells him that her friends are out of town and it is just the two lovely young American girls alone in the apartment.  Brilliant.  They are kidnapped within minutes.  The daughter sees her friend get kidnapped while she is on the phone with her dad.  The rest of the movie is the dad trying to find her before she is sold into the sex trade.

Problem #1.  The portrayal of the 17 year old daughter did not ring true to me.  When she ran up to her dad to hug him, she reminded me of Phoebe from "Friends" when Rachel first moved in with her and they went jogging together.  Rachel was so embarrassed by her running form - arms flailing, giant awkward steps, that she refused to go jogging with her anymore.  That is what this looked like.  It made me uncomfortable and it made her character seem that much more immature which made the parents (particularly the mother) look like complete morons for allowing such an underdeveloped child to go off to Europe without any supervision.

Problem #2:  The ex-wife character is without redeeming characteristics except that she is a mother who loves her daughter.  I could barely stand to watch her.  When you realize how bitchy she is, it almost makes you think, "Well, it serves you right for lying..."  Not good.  I decided I do not like this actress, either.  I have seen her in something else and she is just all hard-edges and I can't seem to find anything that attracts me or interests me.

Problem #3: The girls can't really be THAT stupid, can they?  I guess naive or trusting are probably better choices, but the way this is portrayed just made me think STUPID.

Problem #4:  The VERY end of the movie...I'm not gonna give it away here, but I HATED how things happened in the last 2-3 minutes of the film.  Annoying.

Given all that, you would think that I hated the movie - I didn't.  I just didn't feel sorry for anyone but the dad.  The one thing that ruins a good movie for me is when there are no sympathetic characters (remind me to talk about "The Fabulous Baker Boys").  This movie was lucky enough to have the dad...otherwise, I would not have liked it at all.

Anyway, those are my 10 cents (it was longer than 2 cents).

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