With echoes of Harrison Ford’s 1988 Frantic, where he searched for his wife through Parisian back alleys, Taken is a decent thriller.  It could have been more creative and more subtle, but it works, largely due to Neeson’s acting skills.  Its message?  Unless you have an ex-husband who can maul, murder and maim with action-hero acumen—and no scruples about doing so—you’d better watch your kids.  The world is a cold, cruel and place.

That this film, with its startling number of killings and torture scenes, would qualify for a PG-13 rating—while Slumdog Millionaire got an R—just proves that there is little logic at the Motion Picture Association of America.  So the kids might end up seeing it without your permission.  The good news, however, is that if your teen does, she probably won’t ask to travel without a chaperone.  So maybe that’s the strategy behind the rating.  Either way, few will be disappointed, and many will enjoy Taken.

DVD EXTRAS:

  • Trailers

CAUTIONS:

  • Drugs/Alcohol:  Characters drink and smoke throughout film, usually in social contexts.
  • Language/Profanity:  A moderate amount of profanities and obscenities, some strong.
  • Sexual Content/Nudity:  Very strong sexual themes, including the sex traffic of young women that is prevalent in Europe, and the high price that virgins can fetch on the black market. Brief, partial nudity and sexual situations with minors and/or very young women, all in the context of prostitution.
  • Violence:  Very strong, including more than a dozen murders (seen partially offscreen and/or at a slight distance); one extended torture scene; car chases and ensuring crashes and several fights/shoot-outs.