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(Review originally written at 1 May 2009)

Not much was to be expected from this movie and it wasn't very widely advertised at the time of its release. I also hadn't heard much about this movie before watching this movie, neither from the common crowd or the media. Besides, it stars Liam Neeson in an action-role, how good can that ever turn out to be? "Taken" is however unexpectedly good and one of the more pleasantly surprising movies of 2008.

Within its genre this is simply one fine movie. It's a quite tough and bold action movie, in which we see lots of graphic killings. It's real pleasing though to see the main hero shooting and fighting his way through France, leaving a real killing-spree behind him. We can feel for the character and therefore are also more into the action. We understand his motivations and we even cheer for him when he bluntly kills another person point-blank or shoots someone in the back. A real accomplishment for an action movie to get its crowd so drawn into the movie its action.

It's pretty obvious though that this movie got heavily influenced by the also unexpected bug success of the Tony Scott movie "Man on Fire". It uses a similar type of plot as well as main character and it also handles its action in the same kind of way; Very bold, raw and straight-forward. The movie is not as fresh or well constructed as "Man on Fire" though but the movie also deserves better than to be merely called a "Man of Fire"-wannabe.

I must say that action movies really seem to get tougher these days, in terms of its violence and mainly the handling of it. Movies now days often pick a more realistic approach instead of going over-the-top with any of its action. Because of this the action actually looks and feels more tough. It's a real welcome development within its genre.

It's not in the least thanks to Liam Neeson that this movie also works out really. Of course it seems like an odd for a 55-year old Liam Neeson to go Jason Bourne-style but it works out surprisingly well for the movie. He handles his role and also its action really well. His character makes the movie and its story work.

Not that the story is much special though. It's suiting and good enough for within its genre but it's just not all quite good and fresh enough to truly consider this a brilliant- or the most original recent action movie around. I therefore was also real surprised to see its rating on here, which is extremely high for a movie of this type and its given the movie a bit too much credit. Like I said, it's a real unexpected great movie and I really enjoyed it from basically start till finish but really an 8 people? Just really too much, especially when considering that there are far too many great movies out there who have a far lower average rating on here. Oh well, the average voting score will probably settle down in a couple of years from now, giving the movie its place and rating it in all sincerity and objectivity deserves.

But to end completely positively; "Taken" is a real unexpectedly great movie within its genre, in which Neeson perhaps surprises the most as a convincing action-hero.

7/10

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About Frank Veenstra

Watches movies...writes about them...and that's it for now.
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