The following are the three things I learned about Paris, courtesy of Taken: (1) Nobody speaks French. The preferred language of everyone from Albanian sex traders to taxi drivers is crisp English. (2) Like a sad stereotype, every citizen of France carries a baguette under their arm. (3) Parisians are totally okay with the aforementioned Albanian sex traders doing their thing all over Paris. Well, except for one man, but don't worry, he's American (and he's pissed).
Liam Neeson plays Bryan Mills, an uptight divorcé father struggling to win back the heart of his teenage daughter, Kim (Maggie Grace). You see, when Kim was a little girl, all she wanted was her daddy and a pony (nonspoiler alert: She gets her pony!), but her father was never around due to his job: international super spy! If this sounds nothing like your life, you are not alone. But keep reading—we're almost at the part where the ass kicking starts.
Like Jason Bourne with an alimony payment, Mills is now retired and once again interested in his daughter, but she would rather rebel. And rebel she does—not by stripping, or by dating the first guy she meets who rides a motorcycle, but by heading to Europe to follow U2 in concert. (Whaaaat? Have the producers of Taken ever heard of a little group called Phish?) Anyway, once Kim gets to Paris she is kidnapped by mean ol' Albanian sex traders (as every U2 fan should be) and there's only one man who can save her: Bono! Just kidding. It's her dad. Remember? He's a super spy?
Taken is hampered by horrible foreshadowing and stiff, wooden dialogue that would be unbearable had it not been for the knowledge that once the chat stops, the splat starts. Neeson spends the majority of Taken's 94 minutes cracking skulls, snapping necks, and shooting just about anyone that will stand still. As he gets closer to his daughter Neeson piles up the bodies of the stereotypical French, Albanians, and even some Arabs as well. It's like a big colorful rainbow of ethnicities, splattered in blood!
Hardly the finest work from the man who once played Oskar Schindler, Neeson is still oddly compelling and likeable, even when he is mercilessly electrocuting a man to death, shooting an innocent woman at a dinner party, or shopping for a karaoke machine. He's totally the greatest father ever—as long as you keep your grubby paws off his daughter.