Taken is an exploitation thriller, the sort of studio pic that seizes the worst the world has to offer (the sex-slave outrages that The New York Times' Nicholas Kristof exposed so brilliantly) to bolster its rote rhythms.
The movie proves two things. (1) Liam Neeson can bring undeserved credibility to most roles just by playing them, and (2) Luc Besson, the co-writer, whose actioner-assembly line produced this film, turns out high-quality trash, and sometimes much better.
Taken, which tells the story of how Liam Neeson blows a gasket and flies off to France and kills 75 Albanians in 90 minutes, is crisp, efficient and deeply insane.
A fleet, no-nonsense rescue thriller from the crackerjack French director Pierre Morel, Taken is satisfying (1) for the Gaelic gravitas of its star, (2) its slam-bang chase scenes and bone-snapping martial arts, and (3) the scenic backdrops of Paris.
Taken is movie junk food -- fun while it lasts, but not much more. Nothing wrong with that kind of snack every now and then. You just won't want a steady diet of it.