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Heinlein Nexus
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Joined: Thu Apr 10, 2008 8:10 am
Posts: 2232
Location: Pacific NorthWest
Post Taken
Just checked this out on DVD. Plot: A retired CIA field agent's daughter is kidnapped in Paris and sold into sex slavery. He goes to find her. The lead is Liam Neeson.

What's impressive is how it navigates a clear path through a crowded minefield of stereotypes, thanks mainly to Neeson's serious portrayal. No Schwarzenegger-like mowing down bad guys with gusty laughter. No increasingly bizarre and inventive methods of dispatching the opposition. No effeminate disabling of minor bad guys with G-rated knockout moves. No arch villains taunting Dad with his squealing girl held against the telephone. No spunky All-American girl heroics mounting an apple-doesn't-fall-far-from-the-tree escape attempt. No woe-is-me scenes of Dad giving up and wallowing in despair. Just good, believable intelligence tactics and lots of gritty violence that feels immensely gratifying and never gratuitous. It reeks of verisimilitude.

The DVD contains a theatrical release and an unrated version, which I watched. I didn't see the theatrical version, but it's rated PG-13; don't bother with that, the R-scale action in the unrated version is totally appropriate.

Sat Sep 12, 2009 5:43 am
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Joined: Wed Apr 09, 2008 12:17 pm
Posts: 2401
Location: The Quiet Earth
Post Re: Taken
We watched this a few weeks back. I think casting Neeson in the role is what makes it work - he's not a badass actor but can easily swing that way (Darkman), so when his background unreels, you get a certain ooohhhhh satisfaction.

That said, the entire film genre of one good guy blasting his way through walls of bad guys, whether it's Arnie in almost any Arnie movie, James Bond, or Jason Bourne... requires some significant suspension of disbelief.

Taken is a good ride and there are many points played well. "Honey, they're going to take you." - absolutely chilling and a counterweight to too many scenes of getting a nebbish to assemble an AK-47 from scraps at hand.

On a slight tangent, I recommend Frederick Forsythe's book of short stores, No Comebacks. He's not at his best in short form, but at least two stories are excellent stuff and one is very similar, thematically, to Taken - "Money with Menaces." Nice yank at the end.

"Hier stehe ich. Ich kann nicht anders." - Luther
In the end, I found Heinlein is finite. Thus, finite analysis is needed.

Sat Sep 12, 2009 11:32 am
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