Taken is the second film from director Pierre Morel, his first being the insanely hyper-active District B-13. Although Taken's protagonist, played by Liam Neeson, is much older than the usual action movie stars, Morel maintains a frantic pace throughout the film, reminiscent of the Bourne trilogy or some of the more recent Bond films.
Not only does Liam keep up, but he is extremely believable as the retired CIA operative, named Bryan Mills, forced to call upon his wealth of knowledge, skills, and resources acquired through years of "preventing." I really connected with the back story, involving his bitter ex-wife, her new, ridiculously rich husband, and his 17 year-old daughter, who he's trying to re-connect with after years of being invisible. However, when his daughter is kidnapped by some thugs and sold into an Eastern European prostitution ring while visiting Paris with a friend, a trip he did not want her to go on, the real entertainment begins.
The action in this movie is shot with a sense of realism, but the stunts are truly impressive; whether it's a car chase through a construction site or a guy jumping from a bridge. More impressive still are the martial arts on display. I'm no expert, but Liam Neeson looks totally legit as he disfigures and maims every bad guy in his way. I could swear I was watching a Tony Jaa movie there was so many cracking bones. There are many moments that made me just yell out in surprise, whether it was the method in which he dispatched some gang-banger, or just one of the measures he takes to find his daughter; this guys stops at nothing.
Whether your an action movie junky or just appreciate a thriller with a heroic protagonist, this film will meet your needs. Taken is one of the best pure action movies I've seen in a while.