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Movie Reviews
by Todd Pearage

Taken (5/12/2009)


Rated PG-13 for intense sequences of violence, disturbing thematic material, sexual content, some drug references and language.

Directed by Pierre Morel (first feature film)

Starring Liam Neeson


Todd's Rating: Rental

“I will find you… and I will kill you.” Definitely the coolest movie line so far this year.

The seventeen year-old Kim is the pride and joy of her father, retired agent Bryan Mills (Liam Neeson), who left the secret service to stay near Kim in California. Kim lives with her mother Lenore and her wealthy stepfather Stuart. She convinces her reluctant dad... O.K. whines like a 4 year old until she gets her way… to sign an authorization to travel to Paris with her friend Amanda. When they arrive, they share a cab with a stranger named Peter and Amanda accidentally tells to him that they are alone. When Bryan finally succeeds in contacting his daughter – because she forgot, she tells him that criminals have just broken in the apartment they are staying at. The next few moments were some of the most chilling I have experienced in a long time…"Alright," Dad calmly says. "Listen to me. Go to the next bedroom, go under the bed. Tell me when you're there. Now, the next part is very important: They're going to take you."

And they do.

That’s when the kidnappers pick up the phone and Bryan says THEE quote from the movie, “I will find you…and I will kill you”.

First things first, I thought I knew what I was getting into when I sat down with my wife to watch Taken… and I got exactly what I was expecting.

That was both good and bad.

First the bad, and I warn you… this is a rant. I need to get this off my chest… the teenager daughter is without a doubt one of the most annoying characters I have seen on film in a long time. Kinda like the Jar Jar Binks of teenage girls. I mean her whining is like nails on a chalkboard, she acts like a spoiled 4 year-old, she’s completely irresponsible and totally clueless. Ahhh that felt good. Seriously, once you get past her, it’s a pretty good movie.

I said I was pretty sure I knew what to expect in Taken, but I was really disappointed by the lack of surprises. The trailer gives just about everything away and what it doesn’t is not that hard to figure out. That means no big plot twist, no surprise ending and nothing that would make you think too much.

The only real surprise was Liam Neeson as kick-butt dad. I remember seeing the trailer and hearing things like, “the first action movie of 2009” and thinking… wait a minute, that was Liam Neeson. But I was pleasantly surprised because he is so good as a father whose sole mission is to rescue his daughter.

Taken is not to be taken seriously and the filmmakers seem to know that. It does move at a pretty fast pace (around 90 minutes) and there is enough non-stop action to entertain the action movie fan inside all of us. If you are willing to suspend reality, then I think you’ll enjoy this one… I say “Rent It.”


SHOULD KIDS SEE IT?
The film is Rated PG-13 for intense sequences of violence, disturbing thematic material, sexual content, some drug references and language.

In my opinion the premise of the entire movie is disturbing and would think that most teenagers should stay away from this one.

In one scene, Bryan discovers a “brothel” where girls are forced into small, curtain-separated cubicles as a long line of customers waits to have sex with them. Bryan pulls several curtains back to reveal women in various states of undress as men paw at them. There's no explicit nudity, but it’s difficult to watch.


Side Note:
As said above, we don't recommend your kids see this film. But on the occasion that they actually have already seen it, you may want to dialogue about the film with them. These questions below may be a help to you.

Conversation Starter
Three Simple Questions (with Answers You May Be Looking for):

  1. What are some of the messages or themes you observed in this movie?


  2. How do you suppose we—as serious Christ-followers—should react to this movie?


  3. How can we move from healthy, Bible-based opinions about this movie to actually living out those opinions?




Todd Pearage Todd Pearage is a movie buff at heart, but he's not your traditional film critic. Todd is a blue collar film geek, from his job years ago at Blockbuster to his heartfelt online movie reviews. But Todd isn't just a film geek. He has worked with middle and high school students since 1991 as a youth pastor and is currently on staff at Calvary Church in Souderton, PA. Todd and his wife Lynda have three children, Brianna, Caleb and Addyson.



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