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"TAKEN"
(2009) (Liam Neeson, Maggie Grace) (PG-13)

Alcohol/
Drugs
Blood/Gore Disrespectful/
Bad Attitude
Frightening/
Tense Scenes
Guns/
Weapons
Heavy Mild Extreme Moderate Extreme
Imitative
Behavior
Jump
Scenes
Music
(Scary/Tense)
Music
(Inappropriate)
Profanity
Heavy None Extreme None Moderate
Sex/
Nudity
Smoking Tense Family
Scenes
Topics To
Talk About
Violence
Heavy Minor Heavy Heavy Extreme


QUICK TAKE:
Action: A former CIA agent uses every tool in his arsenal and leaves many bad guys in his wake as he tries to find and rescue his 17-year-old daughter who's been kidnapped into the sex slave trade while vacationing in Paris.
PLOT:
Bryan Mills (LIAM NEESON) is a former veteran CIA field operative who's recently left the agency to be closer to his 17-year-old daughter, Kim (MAGGIE GRACE), in hopes of making up for being gone most of the time when she was growing up. Such prolonged absences took a toll on his relationship with Kim as well as her mother, Lenore (FAMKE JANSSEN), who eventually divorced him and remarried Stuart (XANDER BERKELEY), a wealthy businessman who can provide Kim with just about everything she needs.

That is, except for the signature required for Kim to travel to Paris with her 19-year-old best friend, Amanda (KATIE CASSIDY) and stay with the latter's cousins. Lenore has given her approval, but Bryan is reluctant, not only due to being an overprotective father, but also because he's seen the dangers out in the real world. That point has just recently been driven home when Bryan takes a freelance gig with his agency buddies as bodyguards for pop star Sheerah (HOLLY VALANCE), with Bryan having to save her life from a knife-wielding assailant.

Even so, and afraid that he might loose Kim forever if he says no, Bryan begrudgingly gives her permission to go abroad, on the condition that she call him everyday. She agrees and soon arrives in Paris where she and Amanda meet a friendly local, Peter (NICOLAS GIRAUD), who shares a cab and escorts them to their place. But he's really a scout for a gang of Albanian thugs who routinely kidnap pretty girls and sell them into the sex slave trade.

While Bryan is on the phone with Kim, men break into their apartment and kidnap both. Delivering an ultimatum to the ringleader, Marko (ARBEN BAJRAKTARAJ), that he will find and kill all of them, Bryan flies to Paris and begins his exhaustive search for his daughter. Using every tool from his years of training and expertise, including a visit to former French spook turned government desk jockey Jean-Claude (OLIVIER RABOURDIN), Bryan pursues every lead and leaves many bodies in his wake as he tries to find Kim.

WILL KIDS WANT TO SEE IT?
If they're into hard-hitting action films and/or are fans of anyone in the cast, they might want to.
WHY THE MPAA RATED IT: PG-13
For intense sequences of violence, disturbing thematic material, sexual content, some drug references and language.
CAST AS ROLE MODELS:
  • LIAM NEESON plays a recently retired CIA field operative who's left the agency in hopes of making up for lost time with his daughter. Even so, he begrudgingly agrees to allow her to travel to Paris, but only under certain conditions. Following her abduction (that he overhears on the phone), he travels there, hunts down those responsible, and leaves many bodies in his wake -- vigilante and even torturer style -- as he tries to find and rescue Kim. He also uses some profanity.
  • MAGGIE GRACE plays his daughter who's just turned 17 and wants to travel to Europe with her friend, although she lies to her dad about the extent of that trip. She must contend with being kidnapped, drugged, and forced into prostitution (although her virginity remains intact as she's auctioned off for that very attribute).
  • FAMKE JANSSEN plays her mom, divorced and still bitter toward Bryan for being gone for long stretches of time due to work. She makes him feel bad for not automatically approving Kim's trip.
  • KATIE CASSIDY plays Kim's wild, 19-year-old friend who partly misled her, and plans on partying (and having sex with Peter) upon their arrival in Paris. She must also contend with being abducted along with Kim.
  • ARBEN BAJRAKTARAJ plays the leader of a sex slave trade operation who has pretty girls kidnapped, drugged and forced into prostitution. He's initially belligerent toward Bryan until things turn ugly and painful for him.
  • NICOLAS GIRAUD plays the initial spotter for the sex slave trade organization. He befriends Kim and Amanda, setting them up for abduction.
  • XANDER BERKELEY plays Kim's stepfather, a wealthy businessman.
  • OLIVIER RABOURDIN plays a former French spy turned government official who isn't happy to see Bryan, especially following the outbreak of violence and vigilantism. He turns out to be corrupt and uses some profanity.
  • HOLLY VALANCE plays a pop star who Bryan saves while working as her bodyguard at a concert. She ends up giving Kim a chance to break into the music biz.
  • CAST, CREW, & TECHNICAL INFO

    HOW OTHERS RATED THIS MOVIE


    Curious if this title is entertaining, any good, and/or has any artistic merit?
    Then read OUR TAKE of this film.


    (Note: The "Our Take" review of this title examines the film's artistic merits and does not take into account any of the possibly objectionable material listed below).


    OUR WORD TO PARENTS:
    Here's a brief summary of the content found in this hard-hitting action film that's been rated PG-13. Profanity consists of at least 6 "s" words, while other expletives and colorful phrases are also uttered. Some sexually related dialogue is present, and a young woman announces she's going to have sex with a stranger, but that never occurs. Various young women are abducted, drugged and forced into prostitution (sexual encounters implied off-camera), while some such young women are seen scantly dressed, while regular street hookers are also on the street selling their wares.

    Violence involves those abductions as well as many scenes of a vigilante fighting, wounding and killing many villains by various means and weapons, with many of the blows being quite brutal in nature, while a person is also hit by a truck and there's a scene of torture involving electric shock.

    Some of that has bloody results, but not as much as one might expect considering the degree of said violence. Those scenes and moments of potential peril might be unsettling and/or suspenseful to some viewers, while all sorts of bad attitudes are present. The various stunts and other such behavior might be enticing for kids to imitate.

    Alcohol is present in several scenes, and there's brief cigarette use, while various abducted women are seen drugged and strung-out (forced that way by their adductors). Tense family material is also present.

    Should you still be concerned about the film's appropriateness for yourself or anyone else in your home, you may want to look more closely at our detailed listings for more specific information regarding the film's content.

    For those concerned with bright flashes of light on the screen, there's a lot of that, briefly, from paparazzi cameras, and then later in a room where a light is flashing.

    For those prone to visually induced motion sickness, there are varying amounts of camera movement (sometimes fairly bouncy) at various points in the film.


    ALCOHOL OR DRUG USE
  • Adults hold what appear to be drinks at a party.
  • Bryan's former agency coworkers arrive at his place with beer and wine.
  • One of Bryan's associates states that Marko and the others kidnap young women, addict them to drugs, and then force them into prostitution.
  • We see cans of beer by some sentries, and then more by other bad guys.
  • Bryan finds many strung out young women in the villains' lair, and one of them appears to be dead with her eyes open and some vomit on her face.
  • Bryan opens some wine in Jean-Claude's house (as given to him by Jean-Claude's wife).
  • People have drinks at a gathering.
  • Pretending to be a server, Bryan pours champagne for a sex slave bidder.
  • BLOOD/GORE
  • We see a close-up view of a needle for an IV going into some skin.
  • Bryan finds many strung out young women in the villains' lair, and one of them appears to be dead with her eyes open and some vomit on her face.
  • A few people who Bryan shoots have some blood on them (but not much).
  • A thug has some burns marks on his face after being hit there by the scalding output of a steam pipe.
  • A man who's been shot several times has blood on his shirt.
  • Bryan has a few bloody scrapes on his face following fighting many villains.
  • DISRESPECTFUL/BAD ATTITUDE
  • As a crowd of fans rush toward Sheerah, Bryan and the other bodyguards try to get her to safety, but we see a man on the other side readying a knife. Bryan grabs and disarms this man with many quick, but brutal blows.
  • Lenore has a bad attitude toward Bryan for most of the film, mainly involving his past absences due to work that ultimately led to their divorce.
  • Bryan learns that Kim lied to him about her Europe plans, and Kim then learns that Amanda lied to her about Amanda's cousins being in Paris (meaning the girls will be alone).
  • From Peter to Marko and others involved in the kidnapping and drugging of young women into the sex slave trade, they all obviously have extremely bad attitudes. We also learn that various French officials know of and/or profit from that.
  • Some viewers might not like the main villains portrayed as Albanians and Arabs.
  • A pimp smacks a hooker on the head and then pushes Bryan back against a wall or fence, threatening him if he doesn't leave the hooker alone.
  • Bryan takes the law into his own hands, vigilante style, to find and rescue his daughter no mater what it takes or how many bodies are left in his wake.
  • Jean-Claude tells his wife to "shut up" when things get heated with Bryan.
  • A comment is made that Kim will pull in a large sex slave bid due to being a virgin.
  • FRIGHTENING SCENES
  • Scenes listed under "Violence" may be unsettling and/or suspenseful to younger viewers and/or those with low tolerance levels for such material.
  • While on the phone with her dad, Kim is shocked and scared to see some men grab Amanda and carry her off. Bryan tells Kim to go to the next bedroom and hide under the bed, so she does just that, with the men coming in and looking around (we only see their feet) before they leave. Kim thinks she's okay, but is then dragged out from beneath the bed.
  • To get into the apartment without entering the front door, Bryan tiptoes along a narrow ledge from an adjoining one, with little overhand grip and very little footing.
  • It appears that Jean-Claude's men are going to catch Bryan who's talking to Jean-Claude on the phone, but Bryan has outsmarted them and isn't caught.
  • We see that Bryan has a villain tied to a chair with electrical cables attached to that. When the man won't talk, Bryan stuffs a rag in the man's mouth and then turns on the electricity, shocking him. He then does this again, and then leaves it on the third time as he exits the room, leaving the man screaming in agony.
  • GUNS/WEAPONS
  • Handguns/Machine guns/Knives: Carried and/or used to threaten, wound or kill others. See "Violence" for details.
  • IMITATIVE BEHAVIOR
  • Due to the lower part of our picture falling below the masking around the screen, not all subtitles (when present) could be read, meaning the following should be considered a minimum. Phrases: "Dig deep enough and there's always sh*t," "Crazy-ass sh*t," "I don't give a sh*t," "I hope you're not involved in this sh*t," "Hard-on," "Now is not the time for d*ck measuring," "You're pathetic," "He's hot," "How the hell do you know about that?" "So damn expensive," "Piss off," "Scumbag," "Kick your ass," "Get the hell out of here," "Your worthless balls, "Stop jerking around" and "Shut up."
  • All of the fighting, stunts and other action might be enticing for some kids to try to imitate.
  • Amanda dances on the sofa in the apartment.
  • To get into the apartment without entering the front door, Bryan tiptoes along a narrow ledge from an adjoining one, with little overhand grip and very little footing.
  • Bryan steals and hotwires a car, and then drives through a red light to elude Jean-Claude's assistant who's tailing him.
  • Various villains have similar or identical tattoos on their hands.
  • A villain twice spits in Bryan's face while tied to a chair.
  • Bryan drives the wrong way down a road, swerving through traffic, all while chasing after a boat in an adjacent river or canal.
  • JUMP SCENES
  • None.
  • MUSIC (SCARY/TENSE)
  • An extreme amount of suspenseful, ominous and action-oriented music plays in the film.
  • MUSIC (INAPPROPRIATE)
  • None.
  • PROFANITY
  • Due to the lower part of our picture falling below the masking around the screen, not all subtitles (when present) could be read, meaning the following should be considered a minimum. At least 6 "s" words, 1 slang term using male genitals ("d*ck"), 5 asses (3 used with "hole"), 3 hells, 2 damns, 9 uses of "Oh my God," 3 of "Oh God" and 1 use each of "G-damn" and "God."
  • SEX/NUDITY
  • One of Bryan's former agency coworkers jokingly asks if Lenore still has a "hard-on" for Bryan, and then repeats that phrase.
  • While nothing explicit is seen and nothing ultimately happens Sheerah thanks Bryan for saving her life, all while dressed in just a robe in her hotel room.
  • After just meeting Peter outside the airport in Paris, Amanda tells Kim that he's "hot" and that she's going to sleep with him. She adds that she's heard French guys are amazing in bed, and tells Kim that she (Kim) has to lose it (her virginity) sometime, so it might as well be in Paris.
  • About some bravado that Stuart is displaying, Bryan matter-of-factly tells him, "Now is not the time for d*ck measuring."
  • One of Bryan's associates states that Marko and the others kidnap young women, addict them to drugs, and then force them into prostitution.
  • An out of focus magazine cover in the background of a shot appears to show (partially) a female model on the front and possibly the side of her bare butt (it's too out of focus to tell).
  • We see miscellaneous hookers on the street, soliciting business in standard attire, including views of cleavage. Bryan then approaches one, pretending to be a client (nothing explicit is said, but the talk is about paid sex).
  • Bryan pays (as do other men) to enter a hooker pavilion of sorts, where various drugged young women are located behind hanging sheets or blankets. Looking for Kim, Bryan peers into the various areas, mostly seeing the strung out women, but he does spot one man behind one such woman, seated, but the view is brief and it doesn't appear that anything explicit is seen. When mayhem breaks out there, various women flee, and we briefly see one in her panties as she runs off.
  • A classic style statue shows bare breasts.
  • A comment is made that Kim will pull in a large sex slave bid due to being a virgin.
  • We see a bikini clad abductee (front and rear view in her thong bottom) who's being auctioned to the highest bidder. We then see Kim dressed in a similar but not quite as revealing outfit for the same purpose.
  • Bryan finds Kim in a bra in the presence of the man who bought her for sex.
  • SMOKING
  • A minor character is briefly seen smoking, while Bryan attacks another who's about to light up.
  • TENSE FAMILY SCENES
  • We hear that Bryan is divorced from Lenore and has left the CIA to move closer to Kim in hopes of making up for being gone most of her life. That said, Bryan realizes he can't compete against Stuart in terms of providing for Kim financially, including the buying of a gift for her 17th birthday.
  • Lenore isn't pleased with Bryan that he's hesitant to sign permission papers that will allow Kim to travel overseas without a parent or guardian. He asks to just go along for her protection, stating he's good at being invisible, with Lenore replying that he proved that through most of their daughter's life (and tells him, "You're pathetic").
  • From the point of hearing Kim's abduction over the phone to his searching for her and learning she's been abducted and drugged into the sex slave trade, Bryan worries about her safety (especially after he's told he probably has 96 hours to find her), while Lenore is also distraught upon learning about the abduction.
  • TOPICS TO TALK ABOUT
  • The sex slave trade.
  • Vigilantism.
  • Work schedules resulting in parents not being around for their kids and/or putting strains on marriages, etc.
  • CIA field operatives.
  • VIOLENCE
  • As a crowd of fans rush toward Sheerah, Bryan and the other bodyguards try to get her to safety, but we see a man on the other side readying a knife. Bryan grabs and disarms this man with many quick, but brutal blows.
  • While on the phone with her dad, Kim is shocked and scared to see some men grab Amanda and carry her off. Bryan tells Kim to go to the next bedroom and hide under the bed, so she does just that, with the men coming in and looking around (we only see their feet) before they leave. Kim thinks she's okay, but is then dragged out from beneath the bed.
  • Bryan breaks a window to enter the apartment.
  • Bryan images a flashback to the thugs grabbing and carrying off Amanda, and then that of them grabbing Kim and bashing her to a mirror that breaks upon that impact.
  • Bryan grabs Peter in a cab where he repeatedly hits him hard, demanding information. Another man then yanks Bryan from the cab, but Bryan beats him up, including a kick to the crotch and bashing that guy to the cab. The first guy escapes, and Bryan gives chase, first in the cab and then on foot, with the man jumping from a bridge a long way down to the top of a truck and then down to the road. He seems to have escaped when a large truck suddenly hits him (seen from a distance).
  • A pimp smacks a hooker on the head and then pushes Bryan back against a wall or fence, threatening him if he doesn't leave the hooker alone.
  • Bryan grabs a man who's paid to have sex with an abducted and drugged woman, punching that man. That's followed by a growing succession of other men who he dispatches with various hard blows, disarming one and shooting another. As he rescues one such abductee and gets her to his car, various men fire at him with handguns and machines guns, with him firing back with a handgun. He runs into some fire barrels that overturn and spread their fire resulting in an explosion, while a vehicle chases after him, with its passenger shooting at his car. He ends up knocking that vehicle down an embankment (it flips, etc.), but others keep up the chase, still firing machine guns at him. One of them crashes hard, while another plows into a parked bulldozer, where the scoop blade of that goes through the windshield (we don't see the aftermath inside). Bryan then drives and blasts out through a construction trailer to escape from the site. We later hear that seven people are dead and others wounded from all of that.
  • We see a flashback to another abductee being snatched from a car.
  • Bryan fights many villains (with hard blows) and shoots others (wounding or killing all of them) in another action sequence.
  • We see that Bryan has a villain tied to a chair with electrical cables attached to that. When the man won't talk, Bryan stuffs a rag in the man's mouth and then turns on the electricity, shocking him. He then does this again, and then leaves it on the third time as he exits the room, leaving the man screaming in agony.
  • Jean-Claude retrieves his hidden gun and then holds that on Bryan who's unfazed by that, revealing that he previously unloaded the gun. Bryan then shoots Jean-Claude's wife in the arm (saying it's just a flesh wound) to get Jean-Claude to talk, and then hits him on the head with that gun moments later.
  • Bryan hits a guy in an elevator and then again, hard enough to knock him out or kill him. He then hits another in the neck, with the same results.
  • Bryan holds his gun to a man's neck, but is hit over the head and knocked out when they exit the room. When Bryan comes to, he's hanging from a steam pipe over which his hands have been cuffed. A villain gives the order for him to be killed, so one henchman wraps a strap around Bryan's throat, trying to strangle him. But the pipe breaks, hitting one man, while steam from it blasts another man in the face. Bryan then fights the various men, with hard blows, including with a fire extinguisher, while he shoots a man in the leg, wounding him, before shooting him dead. He then shoots others dead, including a lead villain three times in an elevator, the last of which is fatal.
  • Bryan bashes a man's head to his car.
  • Bryan jumps from a bridge down onto a large boat, grabbing and striking one man (knocking him out or killing him), and then kicking and striking another, throwing him overboard. He then strikes and fights more of them, including one whose machine gun goes off into the ceiling and then into the villain. He then shoots many more while also being shot at and he's hit in the arm, but continues. That includes fighting one man, avoiding being shot or knifed, and he jumps through a glass wall (that shatters) to attack that man. Various hard blows follow, finished when Bryan repeatedly jams a broken bottle into the man.
  • A sex slave buyer holds his knife to Kim's throat, but Bryan shoots him in the head, killing him.



  • Reviewed January 27, 2009 / Posted January 30, 2009

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