Check your brain at door for 'Taken'

January 30, 2009 

Taken casts Liam Neeson as Bryan Mills, an ex-CIA agent struggling to reestablish a relationship with his daughter.

Standing in the way is unforgiving ex-wife done by ex-Bond babe and X-Men’s Famke Janssen.

The ex, the daughter, her new hubby, his still-in-the-biz buddies and a pop star do a dumb character establishment dance and waste the first 20 minutes.

Then the daughter takes a European vacation to follow the rock band U-2 across the continent and gets kidnapped by bad guys in France. Mills leaps into action.

Predictable, badly edited, horribly choreographed action punctuated with badly-written, predictable dialogue, cliché villains and that always-necessary “surprise” twist that writers use to punch up a thriller.

All of that wastes the next 60 minutes and leaves five minutes for Neeson’s Mills to some decent movie ending butt-kicking, rescue the kid and head into the five-minute happy ending.

At one time Luc Besson was one of the most creative action writer/directors working. Partnering again with Robert Mark Kamen who helped him do the Transporter series, Besson has become strictly cookie-cutter.

You’ve already seen the best lines and the best scenes of Taken in the TV and theater commercials urging you to catch the movie. If you take the bait be prepared to check your brain at the door. Mr. Movie rating: 2 stars

Rated PG-13 for mature themes, some violence. It opens Friday, Jan. 30 at the Carmike 12 and at the Fairchild Cinemas 12.

5 stars to 4 1/2 stars: Must see on the big screen
4 stars to 3 1/2 stars: Good film, see it if it's your type of movie.
3 stars to 2 1/2 stars: Wait until it comes out on video.
2 stars to 1 star: Don't bother.
0 stars: Speaks for itself.

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