I have a feeling my winning streak with my Netflix rentals has to end at some point, but I hope that bleak moment is still lots of DVDs in the future. The latest movie I got from them, Taken, blew me away, it really did.
Taken, starring Liam Neeson, was an early surprise hit this year, and it went on to gross more than $120 million domestically. In this lean, 93-minute film, Neeson plays a former government agent he describes as a "preventer". It is obvious by his description and his friends he was some kind of secret agent who retired so he could spend more time with his daughter. Too bad his wife divorced him and kept custody of the girl.
At any rate, when the daughter (played by Lost's Maggie Grace) turns seventeen, she goes on what she claims is a trip to Paris with her best friend (Katie Cassidy). Then they are kidnapped by an Albanian gang that deals in drugs and prostitution, and it's time for Daddy to do what he does best and try to save his daughter.
I know the plot doesn't sound particularly original or interesting, and I guess that's why I didn't go to see it when it was playing in theaters last January. However, I found the movie terribly compelling, the pace relentless, and Neeson's performance memorable. I was so rooting for him to find the next clue and kill the next baddie, I was on the edge of my seat from the very beginning until the last scene fades to black. Now this was an action movie with action that doesn't overpower or bore the audience. The film was well written, well acted, and knew not to overstay its welcome. Taken is only ninety-three minutes long, and it's been edited to its bare bones: no scene is superfluous, nothing else could be cut to speed things up or achieve a more focused, unified effect. This is a movie that delivers the goods, and I wish I had seen it on the big screen. Check it out, dear readers, because I think you'll enjoy it.