Blu-ray Review Taken
Directed by: Pierre Morel Cast: Liam Neeson, Maggie Grace, Famke Janssen Running Time: 1 hr, 31 mins Rating: PG-13 Due out: May 12, 2009
Plot: A man (Neeson) revives his past-life skills as an assassin when his daughter (Grace) is kidnapped in Europe.
Who's It For? If you love action films, you've probably seen Taken. But anyone who wants to add a little excitement to their life should consider renting this.
Movie: Could we ever have expected Neeson to be such a natural butt kicker? Here he fits like a glove (that's covered in a lot of blood, probably) in the role of indifferent killing machine. Co-writer Luc Besson has another bullet bonanza (like his The Professional) that touches action fans in the dustiest corners of our hearts. Even the cheesy plot bookends to the action are forgivable, considering the blast that awaits around the corner (whined about in Jeff Bayer's review). With action moments that can stand next to those in the all-American 24, this French film from District B13 director Pierre Morel rocked stateside box offices and rightfully so. This type of excitement doesn't come around often, and it's definitely something to be Taken advantage of.
Movie Score: 7/10
Le Making-of Featurette: An informative 18 minutes that cover the basics expected of any "behind the scenes" feature. Standing out from the standard self-praising and self-thematic exploration, the feature offers a glimpse at Morel's fairly unique directorial work: he actually handles the primary shooting camera himself.
Avant Premiere: Footage from what looks less like the "premiere" and more like a special screening. Most of the gang is here, with Morel, Neeson and even co-writer Luc Besson saying something about the film before its presentation. More interesting than Neeson calling Taken a "hard ass, kick ass action film" is what regular French moviegoers had to say about it after leaving the theatre. (Hint: they liked it. A lot.)
Inside Action Side-by-Side Comparisons: Watch key scenes from the film presented next to behind the camera footage of the actual shooting of that scene (yes, it does make sense). It does take away the polished-ness of the grimy scenes, but at the same time, the magic is gone. Super awesome moments are temporarily drained of their punch and look kind of ... silly.
- Theatrical Cut and Extended Cut of the Film - Extended Cut Audio Commentary by director Pierre Morel, cinematographer Michel Abramowicz, and Car Stunt Supervisor Michel Julienne - Extended Cut Audio Commentary by Co-Screenwriter Robert Mark Kamen - Black Ops Field Manual - Digital Copy of Extended Cut of Taken
Extras Score: 6/10
Considering the price of owning a Blu-Ray to that of renting one, the special features of Taken don't set this particular Blu-Ray apart from others, but the film itself does. The brainless smarts and bada** surprises of the mostly non-stop entertainment of Taken would make for an ideal rental. Maybe in a few years, when we're still reminiscing about the scene where Neeson empties his entire clip into someone for no reason at all (except to prove his greatness), the DVD will be lowered to a more reasonable price.
Final Score: 6/10