Page 18 THE VILLADOM TIMES I, II, III & IV • February 11, 2009 Neeson takes on action hero’s role in ‘Taken’ by Dennis Seuling “Taken” combines elements of the James Bond films with the tale of a father’s attempt to build a relationship with his daughter. It is a fast-paced, exciting action thriller made with style and polish. If analyzed too closely, its preposterous and coincidental events would strain any reasonable credibility, but never mind. “Taken” is a neat roller-coaster ride. Bryan Mills (Liam Neeson) has retired from his CIA job and relocated in order to be closer to his daughter, Kim (Maggie Grace), who lives a life of wealth and privilege with her mother (Famke Janssen) and stepfather (Xander Berkeley). Bryan reluctantly gives his consent for Kim to spend the summer in Paris, on the condition she call him every day. At the Paris airport, Kim falls under the charms of a handsome young Frenchman who is part of a ring designed to kidnap young, foreign women for sale to Arab sheiks. Kim is conveniently on the phone with Bryan when the kidnappers arrive. Bryan immediately contacts his friends in the CIA to piece together evidence he has culled from the brief phone call, which he had the foresight to record. The balance of the movie follows Bryan as he attempts to track down Kim in Paris. During his quest, it becomes evident this quiet, soft-spoken man has an entirely different side. He is a highly trained field agent who is familiar with self-defense, weapons, bribery, interrogation, torture, and forgery. Working mostly alone, he takes on a bevy of bad guys and scurrilous types as he follows the trail to his daughter, dispensing with a good deal of civility along the way. “Taken” is not a great film, but it is the kind that draws in viewers and holds them for 90 minutes. Director Pierre Morel has staged some exciting set pieces, a nifty car chase, and explosions, and tossed in a collection of surly thugs and rich, welldressed villains to spice things up. We root for Bryan because his use of violence is directed only against those who deserve it. He is ruthless and does not subscribe to the unwritten cinema rule that the good guy must be fair, upright, law-abiding, and moral at every turn no matter how difficult the going gets. Bryan has no compunctions against knocking off anyone who might have had any part in his daughter’s abduction. Neeson is an interesting choice for an action hero. He looks more like a college professor, and that is the point. When he springs into action, it is unexpected and Maggie Grace, Famke Janssen, and Liam Neeson star in ‘Taken.’ ���������������������������� ���������������� ��������� ������������ Mon-Thurs 11:30-10 Fri 11:30-11 Sat 12-11, Sun 12-10 OPEN 7 DAYS Authentic Cuisine from Spain Lunch • Dinner • Cocktails �� ����������������� ��������� his proficiency is startling. He refers to his former occupation with the government as a “preventer,” but it soon becomes clear that his job involved more than polite roundtable diplomacy. Like movie character Jason Bourne, Bryan thinks in nanoseconds, sizing up his immediate surroundings, assessing the degree of danger he faces, and determining his offense or defense. The viewers are often surprised by his swift, efficient moves. Michel Abramowicz’s photography enhances the film’s action sequences and Frederic Thoraval’s editing makes scenes shot piece by piece look seamless. This is especially evident in fight scenes, which are abundant. It is surprising that “Taken” is rated PG-13. Its violence, sexual content, plot references to drug use, and strong language would seem to justify an R, but strange are the ways of the MPAA. ���������������� ��������������������� ����������������������� �������������� ������ ������������������������ ������������ ������ ������������������������ ����������� ������ ������������� ���������������������������������� ������ ������������������ ������������������������������ ����������������������������������� ������������ �������������������������������������� #1 German Restaurant in Bergen & Passaic Counties! TAKE TIME OUT FOR LUNCH NEW KIRKERS Businessmen’s & Senior Lunch Special ������ �������� ������ Includes Soup or Salad, Vegetable, Enjoy our Popular Choice of Entree and Coffee/Tea Country Lunch Over 23 Entrees from $895 - $1395 •Served Noon - 3 pm Daily $ 95 ���������� 4 Jr. Entree or Sandwich ���������� ������������ with a cup of Soup 237 Diamond Bridge Ave, Hawthorne • 973-427-7700 SPECIALS Thursday – Saturday • All Major Credit Cards Accepted • Open Mon - Sat • Noon til 11:30 pm