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What a crappy month for movies it has been (as per usual). Outside of the grotesquely fun My Bloody Valentine 3D, there hasn't been a single reason to leave the house and go to the theater. Luckily for us, Taken breaks this trend and delivers a no-holds-barred, balls out action thrill ride that will have you cheering before you know it.

The premise is simple really. An ex-CIA agent, played by Liam Neeson, tracks down the people who have kidnapped his daughter and beats the living hell out of them until they cry like little bitches. What's not to like? Well, as awesome as that sounds, it's a bit contrived. His daughter is on a trip to Europe when she gets kidnapped. Sounds innocent enough, but the question here is why? The answer: she wants to follow U2 around on their European tour. Seriously? You're telling me that the writers couldn't come up with a more interesting reason for her to fly to Europe than to follow U2 around? Maybe it was supposed to be tongue-in-cheek and not taken seriously, but it was stupid nonetheless. Luckily, everything from this moment on will beat you to a bloody pulp.

And frankly, that's really surprising. Although the trailer is one of the coolest I've seen in a long time, it gave that sneaking suspicion that the film would be yet another generic, watered down action flick. I'm delighted to say that it isn't. It's definitely not the most graphic action picture you'll ever see (Rambo currently holds that title), but it's unflinchingly brutal and you can't help but be impressed by the level of professionalism that went into the film.

While it does borrow heavily from the "book of action film conventions," one can't deny how stylish and fun it is. The action scenes were well choreographed, the direction was terrific, and the body count is sky high. That's pretty much all you need in an action flick.

Still, it's nice to have some good acting to just keep the film fresh even when the action isn't constant. Before the Bourne trilogy, very little credit was given to fine performances in action films, but everyone in Taken is excellent and I hope the cast gets the credit they deserve.

Liam Neeson is now officially the man. He's a great actor regardless of what role he's playing, but I've never really considered him an action star. I'm glad somebody saw some potential and cast him as a take-no-crap-and-shoot-everybody-in-the-face CIA agent. This film was dependent on having a convincing lead who could create a character that you could cheer for after every pull of the trigger and Neeson was more than able to provide that.

There are two possibilities that might explain why I thought Taken rocked so hard. One, it's because the last film I saw, New in Town (which you can read my review of right here), was an utter disaster, or two, it packs so much awesome into an hour and a half that you'll want to punch your grandmother in the face. You can decide which. Just remember, old women are fragile.

Taken receives 4.5/5

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