DVD Review: Taken (2009)

Liam Neeson kicks ass in TakenFirst there was Paul Blart, and then there was Taken. It was only January 2009, and we had two major – and surprise – hits on our hands. I remember when I first watched the movie preview for Taken, the Liam Neeson-starring thriller that looks and feels a lot like a B-grade version of The Bourne Identity. The movie looked cool – I was interested in seeing it – but my initial reaction was that no one else would, the studio would give it little promotion and it would open to around $8 million and fade into obscurity shortly thereafter.

Instead, Taken got the royal treatment with a kick-ass marketing campaign, and the rest is history. Now out on DVD, the few people who didn’t go and see this get a chance to, and I highly recommend it. Taken is a simple film with a simple plot, but its fast paced, action packed and well acted. Neeson is surprisingly good in a role that one would think is outside his comfort role, and in fact embodies the character perfectly. This will go down as one of the best action movies of 2009.

The DVD comes with a few mandatory bonus features. For those who like audio commentaries, there are two: one by director Pierre Morel, cinematographer Michel Abramowicz and Michel Julienne and the other by writer Robert Mark Kamen. Both are only available when watching the unrated version (you get a choice). Beyond those, there is “Le Making Of,” which in English means “The Making Of.” The documentary is short and promotional, filled with clips from the movie and interviews with the actors and director congratulating each other and how awesome each of them is.

There’s another short featurette called “Avant Premiere,” which just shows informal interviews with attendees at the world premiere in what I assume is Paris and a shot of Liam Neeson attempting to speak French. This one is five minutes you’ll never get back, so just avoid it.

The only slightly valuable special feature on the disc is “Inside Action: Side by Side Comparisons,” which shows some of the main action sequences in the film and then reveals the “behind-the-scenes” version of it. There’s not much substance here, but it’s interesting to see the action without the flash and gloss.

Funny enough, if you select the “Trailers” special feature, it takes you to a menu that only offers the trailer for Notorious. Apparently, the trailers for X-Men Origins: Wolverine and some others that played when the disc was first launched were too good for this menu.

The bonus features included on the disc are pretty basic, indicating that the studio itself was surprised by the success of the film. That’s fine, because all we really need is the movie itself. Taken is good enough to watch a few times, so I recommend: buy, buy buy!

By Erik Samdahl
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