9.26.2011

If It Ain't Broke.

TAKEN (2008)
Image from amazon.com.
A pretty little American girl falls into the hands of evil human traffickers who come from some non-white country and her father/retired CIA agent goes back into the field to find her. Roll credits. That should really be all you need to know about this movie. It's a recycled plot, played out with characters we've all seen before, and to top it all off, it's filmed in that dark, depressing, realistic action movie style, as opposed to most of the high-contrast fantasy colored flair that comes out of big budget Hollywood. In short, my ADD-generation brain plans to lose interest halfway through the second act, flip to Family Guy, and tune back in just in time to see the closing five minutes. 

Except I don't. In fact, I don't look away from the screen at all.

Image from mattfind.com.
I'm not going to say it's the best movie of the year. But I will say that they pulled it off. Really well. The plot is more or less a straight line from A to B, no frills, nothing really all that original. But it doesn't really need anything else. After all, if it ain't broke, don't fix it, right? They're working with the same action movie formula that's worked time and again. They don't stray, don't try anything over the top, and there's something satisfyingly clean about the whole script. Sure, maybe it's a bit paint-by-numbers. But if it hooks me in and entertains me the whole way through, I say there's nothing wrong with playing it safe, especially after so many recent movies have been a little over the top with their desperate race to create something "original". But "look what I can do, aren't I better than everyone else?" doesn't actually work when...you aren't better than anyone else. You're just shitting on an older-than-time method that's proven to satisfy audiences time and again. I don't want you to get the wrong idea--I'm all about the hooky experimental acid trips. You say 90 minutes, I say I love the smell of Napalm in the morning. But there is something utterly refreshing in a movie that dots its i's, crosses its t's, no more, no less.

Still from amazon.com

But enough of that. Onto the real reason why I was so taken with Taken. Liam Neeson. In my mind, this man can really do no wrong. So he made a couple shit movies. Clash of the Titans (2010) is an example, and then he was in some Star Wars spoof called The Phantom Menace (1999) or something equally ridiculous. But let's face it, even when he's in crap, he still manages to shine like a family heirloom pocket watch. I can't really tell you what I like so much about the man. It's possible it's all in his kind eyes. Whatever Jedi mind tricks he's using, it works. Plus, for someone approaching 60s, dude fucking kills at action scenes. I loved him in A-Team (2010), I loved him in this, I'm looking forward to watching him kick ass all the way to retirement. Anyway, you've got to admit that it's ten times more believable that a CIA agent with some 30 plus years of training under his belt with actually be the lean, mean killing machine all the 20-some pretty boy action heros try to be. Because they were clearly born with a butterfly knife in hand. Well. This girl excluded.

Overall, good, solid movie. Definitely worth a viewing. Liam Neeson was great, the whole thing was very satisfying, the action was fantastic, and Light Sticks was completely unrecognizable. The built up in the beginning paid off nicely, it had a good suspenseful grip, and best of all, didn't fuck around with a halfbaked romance. Nope. Neeson mercilessly kicked ass quite nicely on his own, thank you very much. If you're looking for a movie that may not make your top ten but will not disappoint, look no further. 

5 comments:

  1. Liam Neeson was fantastic in this. Loved Taken! He should do more action flicks like this. He is BAMF and he classes it up.

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  2. I agree! He's really proving himself to be an excellent action movie man, especially in his old age. He's a BAMF, all there is to it.

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  3. superb/////just superb

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  4. Thanks!! I'm glad you enjoyed it! A good movie, that one.

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  5. You could be qualified to get a free $1,000 Amazon Gift Card.

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