Taken (2008)

I say watch it, rent it or buy it, whatever you have to do to get it.

It’s like a daydream come true for most guys.  Seriously.  You’re sitting there and just imagine ripping through some foreign country on a bullet-filled explosion of vengeance and death.  And what could be the motivation so that everyone would be cheering you on even as you torture someone via electrocution?  How about saving your daughter (and her virginity) from the drug-pushing sex trafficking Albanians?  Hell yeah, I think you just got all the moms on board.  He’s an absentee father trying to reach out to his almost adult daughter on a level they can both understand?  Split families.  His ex-wife begs him to use his badassery to do what her new husband with all his money and prestige is unable to do?  There’s the divorced men of the world.  He’s called in to save the family when someone breaks one of his much maligned rules and goes against his advice of how dangerous it is over there?  All the paranoid people out there.  There’s something for everyone and in this movie the plot supersedes  the violence instead of the other way around which is actually really nice.

Notable character types:  Ascetic Warrior, Virginal Damsel in Distress

I also thought it was interesting that they perpetuated the movie convention that the slutty girl always dies first.

I think my biggest complaint is unavoidable and would have made the movie worse if they’d fixed it.  These guys are used to working in teams with support.  He’s less likely to go shrieking off across the globe alone when he literally just finished a job on a 4-man crew with probably only a few of the many, many men and women he knows personally who are very highly trained, very experienced in this kind of work, and would quite likely do the job pro-bono.  That version of Taken would’ve lasted about 20 minutes though and the death count would probably be 4-5 times higher.  But then there wouldn’t have been the urgency, there would have been a loss of moral credibility and it would have diffused the action to barely palpable levels.  As it is, the first 45 minutes of this one seemed to be mostly to establish why we should support his rampage.

It’s interesting that The Other here is clearly delineated as an ethnic group most people only vaguely recognize as probably eastern European.  Added to that is the culpability of a horrendously penetrated French populace and government.  Everyone is guilty in this one.  I guess maybe a small secondary problem would be their choice of kidnapping young wealthy women just off the plane which just begs for the kind of high profile behavior almost guaranteed to bring down a lot of international pressure and a lot of heavily armed people from other countries coming to find their own daughters.  Once again, we wouldn’t have enjoyed the movie if it made sense.

In the end, don’t we all wish we were that kind of badass?