Theatrical release poster
|Directed by||Pierre Morel|
|Produced by||Luc Besson|
|Written by||Luc Besson
Robert Mark Kamen
|Music by||Nathaniel Méchaly|
|Edited by||Frédéric Thoraval|
|Distributed by||20th Century Fox (US)
|Box office||$226.8 million|
Taken is a 2008 English-language French action thriller film directed by Pierre Morel, written by Luc Besson and Robert Mark Kamen, and starring Liam Neeson, Maggie Grace, Leland Orser, Jon Gries, David Warshofsky, Holly Valance, Katie Cassidy, Xander Berkeley, Olivier Rabourdin, Gérard Watkins, and Famke Janssen.
Neeson plays a former CIA operative named Bryan Mills who sets about tracking down his daughter after she is kidnapped by human traffickers for sexual slavery while traveling in France. The film grossed more than $226 million. Numerous media outlets have cited the film as a turning point in Neeson's career that redefined and transformed him to an action film star. A sequel, Taken 2, was released on 5 October 2012, and a third and final film, Taken 3, was released on 9 January 2015. Despite being box office hits, both sequels were met with negative reception from critics.
Retired CIA field operative Bryan Mills attempts to build a closer relationship with his daughter, Kim, who lives with her mother, Lenore, and her wealthy stepfather, Stuart. While overseeing security at a concert for pop star Sheerah, Bryan saves her from a violent stalker. As a token of gratitude, Sheerah offers to assess Kim's talent as a singer. Before Bryan can tell Kim, she asks her father for permission to travel to Paris with her best friend, Amanda. He initially refuses, but eventually agrees after Lenore pressures him. At the airport, he learns the girls are actually following U2 during their European tour, something Lenore knew but kept from him.
Upon arriving at Charles de Gaulle International Airport, Kim and Amanda meet a young man named Peter, whose taxi-sharing habits act as an opportunity to discover and pass on their details and location. Kim and Amanda go to Amanda's cousins' apartment, only for Kim to find that Amanda's cousins are in Spain. While Kim makes a call to her father, she witnesses Amanda being abducted by strange men in the living room. Kim complies with her father's instructions to hide in a bedroom, but Bryan, knowing she will be found, informs her of it and talks her through the situation. After she is dragged out from underneath the bed, Kim yells the description of her abductor until she is silenced. Her abductor picks up the phone and refuses to negotiate with Bryan, who responds with a threat. The only response is "Good luck", after which the call ends.
Sam, an old friend of Bryan and former colleague, deduces from the killer's voice that he is Marko Hoxha, a notorious member and leader of illegal Albanian sex trafficking operations. Informing Lenore about their operations, he warns Bryan that Kim will disappear for good if not found within 96 hours. Using Stuart's private jet, Bryan travels to Paris and investigates the apartment, and later discovers pictures of Peter using Kim's phone. He finds Peter at the airport and tries to capture him, but during the chase Peter is hit and killed by a truck.
With his only lead now dead, Bryan turns to an old contact, semi-retired French intelligence officer Jean-Claude Pitrel, who now works a desk job at the same agency. Jean-Claude informs him of the local red-light district where the Albanian prostitution ring operates, but warns him not to get involved. However, with help from a hired Albanian translator, Bryan trails and infiltrates a makeshift brothel in an abandoned construction yard, where he finds a girl wearing Kim's denim jacket. After a brief firefight with the mobsters, he takes the girl to a nearby hotel owned by an old friend. Once there, he administers medication to the girl to detoxify her system.
The following morning, Bryan questions the girl and learns of a safehouse where the Albanians keep abducted girls. Posing as Pitrel, he enters the house pretending to be interested in both a purchase and negotiation. After a brief conversation with some of the mobsters under the guise of a re-negotiation of their business, he recognizes Marko from Kim's description. After confirming his identity (making him utter the words "Good luck"), he attacks them. A violent fight ensues wherein Bryan subdues Marko and kills all the gangsters. A quick search reveals several dead girls, including a heavily-drugged Amanda. Using a makeshift electric chair in the basement, Bryan tortures Marko for information. Marko explains that virgins have high value in the black market and Kim, being a virgin, sold quickly. Once Marko gives the buyer's name as Patrice Saint-Clair, Bryan leaves him to die from electrocution. Later that evening, Bryan visits the Pitrels for dinner and, discovering Jean-Claude's corruption, wounds his wife and forces him to give him Saint-Clair's location.
Bryan attends the auction beneath Saint-Clair's manor. As soon as Kim comes up for sale, he forces an Arab bidder to purchase her. While making his way out, he is detained by security and chained to a pipe, but he manages to escape and eliminate everyone detaining him, including Saint-Clair. Saint-Clair informs Bryan of a yacht owned by a sheikh named Raman before he is shot dead. Making his way to the harbor, Bryan boards Raman's yacht and takes out his guards and the bidder, only to find the sheikh holding Kim at knife-point. Bryan kills him without hesitation and rescues Kim. They return to the U.S., where she is reunited with her mother and stepfather. Afterwards, Bryan takes Kim to see Sheerah for her first singing lesson and audition.
- Liam Neeson as Bryan Mills
- Maggie Grace as Kim Mills
- Famke Janssen as Lenore "Lennie" Mills-St. John
- Leland Orser as Sam Gilroy
- Jon Gries as Mark Casey
- David Warshofsky as Bernie Harris
- Holly Valance as Sheerah
- Katie Cassidy as Amanda
- Xander Berkeley as Stuart St. John
- Olivier Rabourdin as Jean-Claude Pitrel
- Gérard Watkins as Patrice Saint-Clair
- Arben Bajraktaraj as Marko Hoxha
- Camille Japy as Isabelle
- Nicolas Giraud as Peter
- Goran Kostić as Gregor
- Nabil Massad as Raman
The film was produced by Luc Besson's EuropaCorp. Pierre Morel had previously worked as a director of photography for Besson, and they had also collaborated on Morel's directorial debut, District B13. Besson pitched the idea of Taken one night over dinner and Morel immediately became attached to the idea of a father fighting to protect his daughter. Jeff Bridges was first cast as Bryan Mills, but after he dropped out of the project, Liam Neeson accepted the part, desiring to play a more physically demanding role than he was used to. Neeson at first thought the film to be no more than a "little side road" for his career, expecting it to be released directly to video.
|Taken: Original Motion Picture Soundtrack|
|Film score by Nathaniel Méchaly|
|Released||29 January 2009|
|Label||Razor & Tie|
|Taken (Original Motion Picture Soundtrack)|
|2.||"Change" (Written and performed by Joy Denalane featuring Lupe Fiasco)||4:12|
|3.||"Permission to Go to Paris"||1:11|
|4.||"To the Airport"||1:10|
|6.||"There's Somebody Here"||3:22|
|7.||"Pursuit at Roissy"||1:07|
|8.||"On the Rooftop"||1:40|
|10.||"The Construction Site"||2:04|
|11.||"Pursuit at the Construction Site"||1:25|
|13.||"Escape From St Clair"||1:38|
|14.||"Tick Tick, Boom" (Written and performed by The Hives)||3:24|
|17.||"Pursuit by the Seine"||3:15|
|18.||"On the Boat"||1:05|
|19.||"The Last Fight"||1:52|
|20.||"The Dragster Wave" (Written and performed by Ghinzu)||6:09|
A trailer of Taken was released on June 20, 2008. The film saw its release on February 27 in France, April 9 in China and 26 September in UK in the year of 2008. It was released on January 30 in United States and August 22 in Japan in the year of 2009. The film was released under the title of "96 Hours" in Germany, "Io vi troverò" (I Will Find You) in Italy and "Заложница" (Hostage) in Russia.
Taken grossed $145 million in the North America and $81.8 million in other territories, for a worldwide total of $226.8 million, against a production budget of $25 million.
On its opening day in the North America, the film grossed $9.4 million, scoring the best opening day ever for Super Bowl weekend. It went on to make $24.7 million during its opening weekend playing in 3,183 theaters, with a $7,765 per-theatre average and ranking #1, which was the second highest Super Bowl opening weekend, at the time, behind Hannah Montana/Miley Cyrus: Best of Both Worlds Concert Tour ($31.1 million). The film is also the highest grossing among the Taken Film series in North America.
The biggest market in other territories being South Korea, UK, France, Australia and Spain where the film grossed $15.47 million, $11.27 million, $9.43 million, $6.28 million, and $5.46 million respectively.
Taken received mixed reviews from critics. On Rotten Tomatoes, the film has a rating of 58%, based on 168 reviews, with an average rating of 5.8/10. The site's critical consensus reads, "Taken is undeniably fun with slick action, but is largely a brainless exercise." On Metacritic, the film has a score of 50 out of 100, based on 31 critics, indicating "mixed or average reviews".
Richard Corliss of Time said the film "has nothing more on its mind than dozens of bad guys getting beat up and another one turned into instant roadkill." The Washington Post described the film as "a satisfying little thriller as grimly professional as its efficient hero" and likened the action to the Jason Bourne series. Derek Elley of Variety described the film as a "kick ass, pedal-to-the-metal actioner [...] that wisely doesn't give the viewer any time to ponder the string of unlikely coincidences [...] the film has the forward, devil-may-care momentum of a Bond film on steroids."
Kenneth Turan of the Los Angeles Times described the film's premise as "unintentionally silly at times [...] Obviously, 'Taken' is not the kind of action film to spend much time worrying about its pedestrian script or largely indifferent acting, so it's fortunate to have Neeson in the starring role." Bryan Mills is characterized as "relentless attack machine who is impervious to fists, bullets and fast-moving cars, he uses a variety of martial arts skills to knock out more opponents than Mike Tyson and casually kill those he doesn't KO".
Taken was released as "Taken (Single-Disc Extended Edition)" on DVDs on May 12, 2009 and on Blu-ray Discs on December 9, 2014. The film also saw release of "Taken (Two-Disc Extended Edition)" on DVDs and Blu-ray Discs on May 12, 2009. As of 5 February 2015[update], the film has sold 5,388,963 DVDs and 607,073 Blu-ray Discs and grossing $79,798,171 and $10,069,116 respectively totaling $89,867,287 in North America.
In 2011, a self-proclaimed counter-terrorism expert who claimed the film was based on a real-life incident in which his daughter was killed was convicted of wire fraud. William G. Hillar, who pretended to be a retired Green Beret colonel, claimed to have spent more than 12 years lecturing US government agencies such as the Federal Bureau of Investigation on security issues. However, records revealed he had actually been a radar operator in the Coast Guard Reserve between 1962 and 1970, and had never been in the US Army. Nevertheless, his website claimed Taken was based on events involving him and his family. Hillar, who admitted the charges, was sentenced to 500 hours of community service at Maryland State Veteran Cemetery. He also agreed to repay $171,000 in speaking fees that he had received from various organizations to which he had presented himself as an expert in terrorism and human trafficking.
In other media
- The plot of "Leggo My Meg-O", the twentieth episode of the tenth season of the TV series Family Guy, is based on Taken. In "Brian's a Bad Father", Brian mentions that having Zooey Deschanel cast as the daughter in Taken would be thinking outside the box. A cutaway gag then depicts Bryan Mills (reprised by Liam Neeson) instructing the kidnappers to send him the head of Zooey Deschanel.
- In "Hunt", a fifth season episode of the TV series Castle, when Richard Castle's daughter Alexis is kidnapped and taken to Paris, Castle follows and Det. Kevin Ryan asks, "Who does he think he is, Liam Neeson?"
- A Saturday Night Live opening sketch in March 2014 featured Liam Neeson reprising his character from the film in response to Vladimir Putin's invasion of Ukraine and in defense of President Obama.[episode needed]
- In the animated Cartoon Network series, The Amazing World of Gumball in the episode "The Kids", Gumball calls Mr. Fitzgerald and asks if he can talk to Penny, Mr. Fitzgerald thinks Gumball is being disrespectful to him due to his changing voice, and threatens Gumball by repeating Bryan Mills' phone speech in a scary voice. Later in the episode, Mr. Fitzgerald drives up to Gumball from his car and says the Bryan Mills line to him once more, but Gumball quickly cuts him off when he rolls up his car window, locks the door, and slams it shut in his face.
- One of the most popular and best-received commercials of Super Bowl XLIX in February 2015, an ad by Finnish game developer Supercell for its popular game Clash of Clans, featured Neeson parodying his character from Taken.
Sequels and TV series
In November 2010, Fox announced that EuropaCorp would produce a sequel directed by Olivier Megaton. The film was subsequently released in France on October 3, 2012, with Neeson, Janssen, Grace, Gries, Rabourdin and Orser reprising their roles from the first film.
A third Taken film was released December 16, 2014.
In September 2015, NBC ordered a prequel series depicting a younger Bryan Mills.
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