The film is 89 minutes long. I wish all films were 89 minutes long. The great thing about TAKEN is that enough happens to make it a four hour film, but it isn't, it's just 89 minutes. Everything is short and to the point-- it rips through each scene like a rollercoaster on a mission. In fact, the way the film is packed together is as if it was edited by the character himself, BRYAN (played by LIAM NEESON). Unfortunately, Bryan can't edit films-- but he can kick everybody's ass and will always be ten seconds ahead of you if you plan on shooting him in the head. Bryan is retired; but in his previous work he was; well, I'm not sure-- the film may have explained but to be honest I'm not very good at remembering details. But he worked for the government as a spy, or something similar where you get to do important things and kill people in the national interest.
Anyhow -- the film absolutely flies! It begins with opening credits and then, I swear, it's immediately fifty minutes into the film. It just flies by! So what makes this film so watchable? There's no bullshit, that's what it is. No over-complication. There's two things you need to know. 1) Bryan is trained in killing and is the best there is, and 2) His daughter has been kidnapped.
By sheer coincidence, he happens to be on the phone when his daughter gets kidnapped. I know that sounds ridiculous but, when you're watching the film, you'll go with it. Trust me. Bryan is such an expert in these situations that he's able to stay calm and, in the midst of his daughter's kidnapping (while she's in France) he's able to set up an audio recording, instruct his daughter on specific things to do, and he probably updated his Facebook status too.
The film is the most concise film I've ever seen. It's so compact. But not in a boring way. It just doesn't waste any time. After five minutes, we know everything about the main characters -- a lesser writer and director would spend twenty five minutes following the family around trying to explain everything. Not here. Opening scenes = A Father. A Father struggling to be there for his daughter, and struggling to communicate with his ex-wife. The daughter deciding to travel. The Father trying to help his daughter to be a singer.
That's all we need to know. And then she travels. And get's kidnapped. And the rest of the film is him trying to find his daughter, gain the respect of his ex-wife, and then maybe help her be a singer like she always dreamed. That's all we need to know! That's all Bryan would know, because he's that kind of guy. He runs around a lot and gets down to business and doesn't even stop to pee or eat a sandwich. He does this because he knows his character only has 89 minutes to exist before disappearing into film history.
A great movie! Please watch it!