TAKEN (HARDER CUT)


2008

9/10

I must admit that I was quite TAKEN a back by the tone of this film. Since the DVD/Blu ray releases all toted this as the “Extended Harder Cut”, I may be forgiven for expecting something which reveled in the violence, and offered little in the way of plot or thrills outside the usual action genre’s cliches. But this was not the case…

Yes, the violence was hard and brutal in the instances in which it took place, but I was very impressed with the restraint this film exercised. In fact, I suspect that the 18 certificate was given more the drug and sexual abuse scenes rather the action, with I felt was measured and passionate, based on the subject matter.

In other words, it is going be hard to find an audience member who would disagree that beating, torturing and murdering anyone responsible for kidnapping their daughter, certainly for the sex trade, would not be an inherently appealing concept. Yes, wrong it may be, two wrongs don’t make a right but this film fully exploits the concept of a man turning the world over to safe his child, and who in all honesty, can condemn any parent for that?

But there in lies a problem, with the film that is. The heart strings are pulled by using a host of American cliches, and in many ways and overly sentimental view of the relationship between Liam Neeson and his 17 year old daughter, Maggie Grace. She is clearly a spoiled girl and I could not help thinking that she needed a taste of the real world. Though saying that, the European sex trade underworld might be a bit of a harsh lesson…

A couple of comments though, such as the dismissal of the daughter’s best friend, who was also “Taken” and the portrayal of the Albanians as 100% criminal and in fact, that EVERY on American was in fact evil was somewhat unbalanced, but what the hell. Arguing about these issues only distract us from what is truly important… Hard case yank must demolish France to save his spoiled daughter. Nuff said!

All in all, besides the overly sugary and at times, obsessive relationship between Neeson and the a fore mentioned daughter, and the typical bitter relationship with his ex wife, the film, certainly in terms of action, was underplayed and I thought quite delicately handled.

It had a lot more weight to it, both emotionally and narratively that I was expecting, leading to the audience really getting behind the characters and what they are doing, beside the fact that in many ways, it is highly contrived.

Great fun though, and I highly recommend this, but don’t expect Shakespeare, just expect to see Neeson put in a performance unlike anything he has done for years. He was actually VERY good…

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