Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Taken (2008) - Revenge done hot and stabby

Sometimes a magical things happens when you watch a movie. You're in the right place at the right time and your mind frame is perfectly aligned with the theme of the movie you're about to watch (of course this also applies to other media like books and music). Such a happening came about the other day at 30,000 feet, winging it overseas on an impromptu work trip after arriving back home from a holiday just the day before. Three flights in 24 hours does nothing for my state of mind. The seemingly decent movies on offer were 12 rounds(or 10, or whatever), Watchmen (which I'd already seen), Gran Torino, Taken, The International and some other movie that escapes me now. Not a bad selection for a 9 hour flight.

I went for X Rounds first, figuring it would be mindless crap to fill 90 minutes and get me sleepy. Or drunk. Or both. It was mindless crap. Restless, tired and with only one beer in me; I was a touch cranky when I decided to watch Taken - a movie starring Liam Neeson(who I quite like)  and co-starring Liam Neeson's fists. Also co-starring was Famke Janssen who looks like Claudia Karven and features the same lack of breasts. See.

You could land a plane on that chest
You could land a plane on that chest
So on with the review stuff - man, I loved this movie. Liam Neeson is an ex-CIA operative, Bryan, who left the agency and moved to be near his daughter in downtown somewhere-or-other, USA. The ex-wife (Jannsen) has re-married a really nice rich man who looks somewhat like Colonel Sanders, so perhaps she enjoys hot wings (excuse my poor innuendo). Bryan's daughter wants to get out and see the world(ignoring her cynical father's outlook on the global village) so she heads overseas with a friend and they're promptly kidnapped by  sex-slavers(is that a label you can apply to someone?). Great setup for this one too, Bryan is talking to his daughter on the phone when the girls are taken and the kidnapper just happens to find the phone after the girls are taken away.
Bryan: I don't know who you are. I don't know what you want. If you are looking for ransom, I can tell you I don't have money. But what I do have are a very particular set of skills; skills I have acquired over a very long career. Skills that make me a nightmare for people like you. If you let my daughter go now, that'll be the end of it. I will not look for you, I will not pursue you. But if you don't, I will look for you, I will find you, and I will kill you.
Marko: [after a long pause] Good luck.

I think we all know what happens next. Bryan goes bat-shit crazy and destroys most of the European sex slave industry with his bare hands. Long story short...
Bryan: A friend gave this to me. Its Albanian. You mind translating it?
Marko: [translates paper] "Good luck".
Bryan: You don't remember me? We spoke on the phone two days ago. I told you I would find you.

That's solid gold revenge movie right there. Of course Marko isn't top of the pile and Bryan goes on to kill a bunch more people before the happy ending.

Neeson was great in this movie, the last before the untimely and tragic loss of his wife. Let's hope he can get back to a happy place and produce more entertaining movies like this one. Janssen was pretty good as the wife, I don't have a great deal of time for her but she always seems to put in a decent performance - plus I spent the whole movie thinking she was Claudia Karven and I like Claudia. Speaking of Australian actresses, that chick from Neighbours who went on to become a minor singing sensation, then disappear, was in it too. Holly Valance! Yeah, that's her.

By the time I'd finished enjoying this movie I couldn't end the flight on a down note so I went on to watch Watchmen. Important footnote(footnote: this footnote not inserted as a footnote): I thought they edited airline movies, but no, the lovely breasts were front and centre for all my fellow passengers to enjoy.

To sum up the movies I watched during the homeward leg; Gran Torino looked good but the sound was too quiet to be heard over the plane noise and The International was shithouse.

Taken - revenge action awesomeness distilled to perfection. 9/10 and a couple of metal rods shoved in your leg.

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