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With a fierce and determined Liam Neeson in command, get ready to be taken yourself … for the ride of your life.


Move over Jason, Taken is the best action movie since The Bourne Ultimatum and, in fact, seems to be inspired by the frenetic nonstop pacing of that huge international franchise. Neeson plays a tough-as-nails former government operative who now helps out doing special security gigs, such as protecting a Madonna-like rock star (Holly Valance). His whole life now revolves around his teenage daughter (Maggie Grace), who enlists her mother and Dad's ex-wife (Famke Janssen) to get his permission to let her go on an unsupervised European holiday with her best friend (Katie Cassidy). All hell breaks loose when the two are kidnapped in Paris and sold into a sexual slavery ring, and Dad flies off to get her back.


Although great action stars are few and far between these days, Neeson proves he's got what it takes to put both Daniel Craig and Matt Damon to shame. If anything. his character here is too good. He's a kick-ass guy who uses the latest technologies and good old fashioned smarts to track down anyone who gets in his way. Like the Bourne movies, it's essentially a two-hour chase through Europe -- and it works because Neeson not only can dispatch bad guys in style, there's also a Death Wish-like emotional underpinning to the role of a father who works desperately against the clock to save his daughter from unspeakable terror. And while it's Neeson's show, the ladies in his life -- including Grace and Janssen -- are fine, too. The villains are mainly stock characters but fun to watch as they meet their match -- and then some.


From a script co-written by producer Luc Besson, an action director in his own right, French director Pierre Morel more than meets the promise he showed in the widely acclaimed thriller, District B13. After a brief set-up, he never lets the action wane for even a minute. If someone is looking for a director for the next Bond or Bourne films, this is your guy.

Bottom Line rated this film 3 1/2 stars.