Watched Jul 10, 2012
Steve Grzesiak’s review:
For some reason, I have never completely warmed to Liam Neeson. He's a perfectly good actor with many great performances behind him, of course, but I never quite took to him in the ways that many others seemed to. I've never quite been able to put my finger on why that would be.
To be honest, Taken hasn't really changed my mind about him and actually, if anything, made me uncover a couple of reasons why I have never quite taken (oh ho!) to him. He still sounds awkward doing an American accent and to me he seems to lack conviction delivering many of his lines.
Then again, who actually gives a shit? Especially in the case of a film like Taken. Certainly not me. I just got so completely caught up and lost in this utterly riveting action thriller that he could have started doing an impression of Geoffrey Boycott halfway through and dyed his hair pink and I would neither have noticed nor cared.
That's the genius of a REALLY good action film, for me. Its ability to cover up flaws that, normally, you would be scathing of a film for. But it gets by just by sheer bloody force of nature and with thrills and action that completely transcend everything that you may normally hate. In that regard, you know what Taken is just like? Commando.
Soppy opening with a sappy daughter? Hints at a violent past left behind to care for said daughter? Methodical and calm pursuit of kidnappers? Complete disregard for the health and safety of just about everyone in the hunt for said daughter? Soppy arsed ending? Yep, Taken is Commando 2.
Obviously, Neeson isn't Schwarzenegger, but he's still about as effective as he needs to be in the lead role. This tells me two things - firstly, that adaptability is not one of the reasons why he never became one of my favourites and secondly, that Hollywood is REALLY short of genuine specialist action heroes. I mean, Jason Statham can't be expected to do everything. Especially now he's with Rosie Huntington-Whiteley. The git.
With the support cast largely asked to get the hell out of the way (it's always nice to see Xander Berkeley in anything, having said that), director Pierre Morel allows himself to focus fully on the important stuff in a film like this and create one of the very best action films of the last decade. Possibly THE best. I love this film.