Taken (film)

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The quote "I DON'T KNOW WHO YOU ARE BUT IF YOU DON'T LET MY DAUGHTER GO I WILL FIND YOU I WILL KILL YOU" appears in front of a man facing left and looking down, whilst holding a gun. The title of the film appears at the bottom of the quote
Theatrical release poster
Directed by Pierre Morel
Produced by Luc Besson
Written by Luc Besson
Robert Mark Kamen
Starring Liam Neeson
Maggie Grace
Leland Orser
Jon Gries
David Warshofsky
Katie Cassidy
Holly Valance
Famke Janssen
Music by Nathaniel Méchaly
Cinematography Michel Abramowicz
Edited by Frédéric Thoraval
Distributed by 20th Century Fox (US)
EuropaCorp (France)
Release dates
  • 27 February 2008 (2008-02-27) (France)
  • 30 January 2009 (2009-01-30) (USA)
Running time
90 minutes[1]
Country France[2][3]
Language English
Budget $25 million[4]
Box office $226.8 million[4]

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.[5][6][7][8][9][10] 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.



The film was produced by Luc Besson's EuropaCorp.[11] 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.[12] 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.[13]


The score of the film was composed by Nathaniel Méchaly and released on January 27, 2009.[14]

Taken: Original Motion Picture Soundtrack
Film score by Nathaniel Méchaly
Released 29 January 2009 (2009-01-29)
Recorded 2008
Genre Film score
Length 45:50
Label Razor & Tie

Track listing[edit]

All songs written and composed by Nathaniel Méchaly except where noted.[15][16]

Taken (Original Motion Picture Soundtrack)
No. Title Length
1. "Opening"   0:52
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
5. "The Concert"   0:53
6. "There's Somebody Here"   3:22
7. "Pursuit at Roissy"   1:07
8. "On the Rooftop"   1:40
9. "96 Hours"   6:01
10. "The Construction Site"   2:04
11. "Pursuit at the Construction Site"   1:25
12. "Saving Amanda"   1:14
13. "Escape From St Clair"   1:38
14. "Tick Tick, Boom" (Written and performed by The Hives) 3:24
15. "Hotel Camelia"   1:38
16. "The Auction"   1:38
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
Total length:


A trailer of Taken was released on June 20, 2008.[17] 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.[18] 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.[18]

Box office[edit]

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.[4]

On its opening day in the North America, the film grossed $9.4 million, scoring the best opening day ever for Super Bowl weekend.[19] 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).[20] The film is also the highest grossing among the Taken Film series in North America.[21]

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.[22]

Critical response[edit]

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."[23] On Metacritic, the film has a score of 50 out of 100, based on 31 critics, indicating "mixed or average reviews".[24]

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."[25] 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.[26] 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."[27]

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".[28]

CinemaScore polls conducted during the opening weekend, cinema audiences gave the film an average grade of "A-" on an A+ to F scale.[29]

Home media[edit]

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.[30] As of 5 February 2015, 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.[31]


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.[32]

In other media[edit]

  • 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?"
  • 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.

Sequels and TV series[edit]

Main articles: Taken 2 and Taken 3

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.[38][39][40]

A third Taken film was released December 16, 2014.

In September 2015, NBC ordered a prequel series depicting a younger Bryan Mills.[41]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ http://www.bbfc.co.uk/releases/taken-1
  2. ^ "Taken". Variety. 4 April 2010. Retrieved 14 April 2012. [dead link]
  3. ^ Buchanan, Jason. "Taken". Allrovi. Retrieved 14 April 2012. 
  4. ^ a b c "Taken (2009)". Box Office Mojo. IMDB. Retrieved 2014-10-06. 
  5. ^ Franich, Darren (2012-01-30). "Is Liam Neeson really an action star?". Entertainment Weekly. Retrieved 2012-07-06. 
  6. ^ Hynes, Eric (2012-01-26). "Nearing 60, Liam Neeson, Action Star, Has Finally Arrived". Phoenix New Times. Retrieved 2012-07-06. 
  7. ^ Weinstein, Joshua L. (2012-01-31). "Liam Neeson Is an Action Star -- 'The Grey' Proves It". TheWrap.com. Retrieved 2012-07-06. 
  8. ^ Tobias, Scott (2012-01-30). "Weekend Box Office: Liam Neeson marks his territory". The A.V. Club. Retrieved 2012-07-06. 
  9. ^ Rich, Katey (2012-05-17). "First Look At Liam Neeson Breaking Necks In Taken 2". Cinema Blend. Retrieved 2012-07-06. 
  10. ^ Pearson, Ben (2012-06-21). "Liam Neeson Kicks More Ass in International Trailer for 'Taken 2'". Myspace. Retrieved 2012-07-06. 
  11. ^ Jaafar, Ali; Keslassy, Elsa (21 November 2008). "New French wave prefers genre films". Variety. Retrieved 1 February 2009. 
  12. ^ Douglas, Edward. "Exclusive: Pierre Morel Talks Taken". Comingsoon.net. Retrieved 10 January 2015. 
  13. ^ Hainey, Michael. "The GQ Cover Story: Liam Neeson". GQ. p. 1. Retrieved 12 January 2015. 
  14. ^ "Taken Soundtrack". last.fm. Retrieved February 7, 2015. 
  15. ^ "Taken (Original Motion Picture Soundtrack)". amazon.com. Amazon.com. Retrieved 6 February 2015. 
  16. ^ "Taken Soundtrack". cduniverse.com. Retrieved February 7, 2015. 
  17. ^ "Taken trailer". traileraddict.com. Retrieved February 7, 2015. 
  18. ^ a b "Taken Release". imdb.com. IMDB. Retrieved February 7, 2015. 
  19. ^ McClintock, Pamela (2009-01-31). "Box office crown 'Taken' by Fox". Variety. Retrieved 2009-02-01. 
  20. ^ Gray, Brandon (2009-02-01). "'Taken' Captures Super Bowl Weekend". Retrieved 2012-10-28. 
  21. ^ "Taken Series". boxofficemojo.com. IMDB. Retrieved February 7, 2015. 
  22. ^ "Taken International box office". boxofficemojo.com. IMDB. Retrieved February 7, 2015. 
  23. ^ "Taken (2009)". Rotten Tomatoes. Flixster. Retrieved 25 September 2014. 
  24. ^ "Taken". Metacritic. CBS Interactive. Retrieved 7 October 2012. 
  25. ^ Corliss, Richard (29 January 2009). "'Taken: The French Disconnection". Time. Retrieved 19 September 2013. 
  26. ^ Kois, Dan (30 January 2009). "Movie Review: The Thriller 'Taken,' With Liam Neeson". The Washington Post. 
  27. ^ Elley, Derek (2008-03-13). "Taken". Variety. Retrieved 2009-01-31. 
  28. ^ Turan, Kenneth (2009-01-30). "'Taken'". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 2009-01-31. 
  29. ^ "Cinemascore". cinemascore.com/. Retrieved February 7, 2015. 
  30. ^ "Taken DVD release". dvdsreleasedates.com. Retrieved February 7, 2015. 
  31. ^ "Taken". the-numbers.com. Retrieved February 7, 2015. 
  32. ^ "Reputed counter-terrorism expert pleads guilty". Military Times. 2011-04-11. 
  33. ^ McFarland, Kevin (7 May 2012). "Leggo My Meg-O". The A.V. Club. Retrieved 7 May 2012. 
  34. ^ https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nT5CNaHchPY
  35. ^ Gruff, Jeff (February 6, 2015). "Liam Neeson's Clash of Clan's spot is the most viewed Super Bowl ad on YouTube". VentureBeat. Retrieved February 28, 2015. 
  36. ^ Grubb, Jeff (February 13, 2015). "YouTube viewers voted Liam Neeson's Clash of Clans spot the No. 2 Super Bowl ad". VentureBeat. Retrieved February 28, 2015. 
  37. ^ Chitwood, Adam (February 2, 2015). "Watch This Year's Best Super Bowl Commercials". Collider.com. Retrieved February 5, 2015. 
  38. ^ "Are We Going To Be Taken Again?". The Film Stage. 10 June 2010. Retrieved 10 June 2010. 
  39. ^ "Liam Neeson Confirmed For Taken 2" Empire. 17 March 2011.
  40. ^ "Maggie Grace Confirmed for 'Taken 2'" /Film. 6 April 2011.
  41. ^ http://deadline.com/2015/09/taken-prequel-tv-series-nbc-luc-besson-1201532541/

External links[edit]