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Reviewing Taken The Action Packed Film Film Studies Essay

Paper Type: Free Essay Subject: Film Studies
Wordcount: 1027 words Published: 1st Jan 2015

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For those die hard film fans out there, who find gratification in heroic and adrenalin packed action pictures and who find the typical ”dirty cop” plots sleep inducing, Id like to present to you: Taken. A thrilling and incredibly shocking insight into the world of human trafficking, prostitution, drug abuse and most importantly, a fathers unconditional love for his daughter.

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Pierre Morel’s captivating French creation reaches out and tugs at the heart strings of its audience from the get go (quite unexpectedly), through the character of Bryan Mills. Mills, father of chic teen daughter Kim, (Maggie Grace) tries desperately to get back into his daughters life after being pushed out by his estranged wife Lenore and her new wealthy husband. His attempts at being father of the year are about 10 years too late, and prove unsuccessful; overthrown by Kim’s new daddy’s extravagance and unbelievable gifts.

Trying to win his daughters affection Mills, knowing all about the big bad world, unwillingly agrees to let her travel abroad to the French capital of Paris with friend Amanda. The trip goes terribly wrong (as we all knew it would) when daughter Kim and friend are snatched by cleverly callous European human traffickers, drugged and taken as sex slaves.

Leaving his ex-wife Lenore and her new hubby to worry and weep in their comfortable million dollar mansion back home, Mills jumps to the rescue and takes the next flight to Paris. Like a true hero, he vows to find his daughter, kill her capturers and take her home.

Of course, there’s a scene from ‘Taken’ that will leave you talking and that’s the kidnap scene. Where we truly see the extent this determined father would go to in order to save his daughter. Shot underneath a bed in a simply decorated French abode with minimal lighting and just the sound of Neeson’s monotone voice, the story truly begins. Instantly, the agent in Mills takes over and like a pit-bull goes into attack mode. The dialogue was cleverly thought-up and definitely set the tone. So, respect is owed to the writers of ‘Taken’ Luc Besson and Robert Kamen.

Now as for the cast, take a hard-working, resourceful and loving father of one, give him a lifetimes experience of CIA altercations and you get ex ‘Lovers actually’ star Liam Neeson as Bryan Mills; a scarily skilled fifty-something. Although he has a face etched with lifetime experiences, he still manages to capture the hearts of love seeking single moms and excitable housewives. However, not only does Mills appeal to society’s female population but to those weekend dads whose children are being won over with shiny new cars and 5ft horses (That’s assuming they’re ‘Hilton’ family rich of course). He’s a hero. A character who shows the world that ”Yes” a father’s love can conquer all. But he’s not all candy floss and bunny rabbits. Trained and skilled in ‘How to kill a bad guy successfully’ Mills in true action hero fashion, ruthlessly kills, tortures and is one step ahead of anyone remotely connected with his daughter’s kidnappers. And everybody loves a dad that’ll fly to the other side of the world for his child. Definitely one of Liam Neeson’s best roles as yet. So thumbs up!

For you young male viewers there’s American princess Kim, played by a young and talented Maggie Grace. Only on screen for about 20 minutes, we don’t really get to see much of the brunette’s acting talents (But who really minds?).The smarter, less vain and just a little less spoilt Paris Hilton is characterised as a typical American teen. Her naivety and cotton wool wrapped ideal of reality is what got her kidnapped. So, glasses raised to all gullible teenagers.

But the success of the flick doesn’t stop with the cast (as good as Neeson is in the role!) but the script, director’s choice of setting and not to mention, the adventurous plot makes the film superb. As soon as Neeson hits the French shores, the slow-pace of the film is catalysed leaving the audience with no time to refill popcorn or even anticipate this ‘kick ass’ dad’s next move. Brilliant work on Morel’s part!

As for the negatives, Morel’s political correctness or cultural awareness certainly is missing within the movie, with Albanian foreigners as the wicked villains trading humans in order to gain success and power. Now that’s a shocker! Who would have thought to blame the minorities? Morel certainly did and it seems without a second thought too!

It also has to be said that no, not every father can kill 6 bad guys in a single minute. So does the film portray reality as such? Well… No, but I’m sure with a smidgen of glamour, a ridiculously warm-looking leather jacket and about 3 decades of Central Intelligence experience and you could be the next Bond/Mills …or something along those lines.

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The brisk ninety-three minute ‘Die hard’ and ‘Bourne’ combination embraces the merciless violence, reckless car pursuits and yet wouldn’t send your grandmother gasping with shock. It strides above all the other action flicks whose directors think a gunshot to the head is the best way to keep watchers stuck to their cinema seats. As a whirlwind would cities, the film draws you into its dynamic and daring core keeping you trapped until it decides it’s finished with you.

It’s sad, sweet and shocking, both bad and brutal. All the characteristics of a fantastic action adventure picture. A little far-fetched but with a first-class lead and equally as good a script, Does it really matter the director’s a little too creative? Personally, I don’t think it does (unless you’re a killjoy of course).

‘Taken’ is nevertheless a great watch and it will definitely satisfy your action appetite. It’s a must see for 2008!

Zoe Mayne Issue 196

Word count: 981


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