Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Take 3: Taken

The movie Taken (2008) is on my personal list of "do not watch again." My husband, on the other hand, loves it. I get it why men (especially fathers) like the movie. They like the thought of being viewed as the hero to their family. Some fathers envision ripping limb from limb anyone who might harm their child. So I get it.

But, here's my gripe: The movie is a prime example of portraying gratuitous violence and sex. Bryan Mills (Liam Neeson) tears a path of death and destruction throughout Paris and parts of Europe to save his daughter Kim (Maggie Grace). One person. Sure, he rescues another girl, but only to get information from her since she wears his daughter's jacket. I've watched other shoot-em-up, blow-em-up films, but for some reason, this one did not sit right with me. I was all for him finding his daughter, even if it meant leaving a wake of destruction, but I had the hope that he would assist other victims too. I thought of all the unfortunate females whose fathers lacked the skills to rescue them. I think I would have tolerated the film's violence more if he had freed other captives along the way, or at least indicated that he would return to help the other girls.

The girls. Captive and drugged. Here is where the filmmakers crossed a line into gratuitous sex, and glorified the human trafficking problem. I would venture to say the only people who appreciated the scene depicting girls drugged, and chained to their beds in various states of undress, are perverts. What good did that scene accomplish other than to excite those who have no good reason to be excited about such conditions?

I hear so often, "We need to see these things so we know they really happen." Bull-loney. I don't need to see people murdered in order to believe it happens. I don't need to see someone gets their guts ripped out by a shark to believe that it happens. I don't need to see children thrown in a trash can to believe that it happens. 

The scene I refer to did nothing more than exploit and glorify a horrid situation. And for that, I lost respect for the filmmakers, and gained disgust for the film.

What worked: Setting up the situations. They did a good job of showing the audience, beforehand, that Bryan Mills has the skills to take on the horrid gang. We learn that he's retired CIA, and see him in action as he protects Sheerah (a singer on tour). After witnessing the interactions with his daugher, his ex-wife and her husband, we are anxious for vindication. We also learn in advance that Kim is a virgin, which plays a vital part in her survival.

What didn't work: The gratuitous violence and sex; and the milk-toast ending with no hope for anyone else's daughter being rescued. It was as though, "Tough luck all you unlucky fathers who lack the skills to maim, kill, and destroy. Your daughters can rot in their hellish conditions, but, hey... at least I got mine out."


  1. Perhaps they've learned from their mistakes in time for the sequel, Taken 2, that comes out later this year. This time his ex-wife is kidnapped.

  2. It will be interesting to see how they handle that one. He and his wife will both be taken hostage by the father of one of the kidnappers he killed while rescuing his daughter. Maybe the sequel will be better! I will watch for it.