Taken (with a grain of salt)

How's tricks, Doctor Crane?

Just got back from seeing the Liam Neeson thriller, Taken, and I’ve got to tell you: It’s a good ‘un. True, there are one or two spots where suspension of disbelief requires a wharfside loading crane, but just wave those off, (unless you’re a hypercritical anhedonic poot) and hunker down to enjoy how the ex-SecretFightSpyDarkOpsKiller dad goes about delivering the promise he makes to his daughter’s kidnappers: “I will find you.”

Not having seen Liam Neeson since, oh, I don’t know, Excalibur, I guess (well, there was a Star Wars movie, but I’ve had all memory of Star Wars surgically removed from my brain) way back in ’81. But I have heard his distinctive voice, and so it was impossible for me not to wonder just how stupid these Albanian White Slave Traders must be to mess with Aslan! You know: the King of Narnia? They’d have done better facing off with the Jason Bourne — Bourne would have broken up their bodies a lot, like Liam, and likely killed them, too, but he then would have felt remorseful about it. Liam Neeson is obviously perfectly content to hurt many, many Albanian Slavers and hurt them badly. “It’s personal with me,” he explains in his Aslan voice before a coup de grâce.

I also had to wonder just what has become of the Paris gendarmerie since the glory days of Maigret. Have standards fallen so low? The things Liam does to Albanian Slavers in public in broad daylight would not be tolerated in most big cities. And his Parisian car chases! Don’t they even have traffic cops over there?

But these are quibbles. It’s a well-constructed little actioner. The filmmakers remember the little details — a brocade jacket, an annotated map, a long keychain — that keep the story tight and coherent. Taken‘s the niftiest little go-flick I’ve seen since last year’s Tell No One.  It’s worth a look if only for the edge-of-your-seat scene with the daughter hiding under a bed with her cell phone while dad — who knows about these matters — talks her through a kidnapping. “I need you to focus, Kim…”

☆☆☆★

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