Taken (2009) - M5.0/E8
This movie was awesome. Everything I expected it to be and more (which expectations I try to keep to a minimum). I had to keep telling myself to breathe and relax and enjoy the movie. This is one of the best action movies I’ve seen in a while.
The beginning of the movie does a great job at getting us to feel sympathy for and understand the love that Bryan Mills has for his daughter, Kim. This sympathy largely stems from the super-annoying ex-wife who has her head in the clouds and apparently cares little for their daughter and has the utmost disdain for her ex-husband, in particular with regards to his over-protectiveness. While Bryan’s over-protectiveness is attributed to his previous career as a CIA black ops agent, I would hope any competent, loving father (and mother) would be equally protective and concerned. (I liked seeing Uncle Rico in this as a buddy of Bryan’s.)
Once the action gets kicked into full gear, there’s no stopping until Kim is found and all the guys in the way are brutally beat-up and killed. I agree with other critics on the fact that there was little else to this film than the brief synopsis above. No thinking skills required, which is great for certain occasions. It made me think how far I would go to make sure my daughter were safe back in my protection if I had similar training.
An interesting sequel would be to see the French retaliate against him, create some sort of extradition order and try him for his crimes committed in their country. He did pull down (singlehandedly) a good part of the prostitution ring, but it seems that parts of the government supported it to some extent by not asking any questions in addition to receiving bribes to keep quiet. What would have made this a better movie would have been to make recovering his daughter a little more difficult, or at least show a little more reality with regards to the combat between Bryan and the bad guys (the stars always seem to align for the good guy in a movie that is supposed to end well).
What was done was illegal, but was it unethical? Because Bryan was trying to save his daugher, it could easily be argued that he was in the right, and that even though he killed people without due process of law, they were bad men who kidnapped his daughter. In a situation like this where the actions are illegal, but not necessarily unethical, in a perfect world he should be submitted to a “just” legal system and accept a “just” verdict. But what would that “just” verdict be?