Taken

 
Violent, disturbing rescue/revenge thriller isn't for kids.
  • Review Date: January 29, 2009
  • Rated: PG-13
  • Genre: Thriller
  • Release Year: 2009
  • Running Time: 94 minutes

What parents need to know

Positive messages

A father becomes a vigilante to save his endangered daughter. A young woman and her friend disregard common sense in search of a good time abroad. Vigilantism and revenge seem justified.

Positive role models

Brian's only redeeming quality is his absolute love for his daughter. This positive aspect of his character is ultimately diluted by the violent means he takes to save her.

Violence

Although there's little blood, the violence is relentless for the majority of the movie, and there's a high body count overall. People are tortured, killed, and attacked with guns, knives, explosives, cars, and other weapons (belts, fire extinguishers, you name it). A character is willing to shoot innocent people if it will extract valuable information.

Sex

Young women are depicted as pawns in a sex trafficking ring. Most are forced to be prostitutes, and some are sold to the highest bidders like slaves. Many women are half dressed but not nude. Shirtless men are shown going into rooms where drugged women are on the bed.

Language

Language includes words like "a--hole," "s--t," "dick," "goddamn," "hell," and "ass."

Consumerism

Featured brands include Audi, Nissan, Sony, Mercedes Benz, and Kodak.

Drinking, drugs, & smoking

Adults drink at a cocktail party; some characters smoke; young women are high so that they won't resist being sex slaves/prostitutes.

Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that this "hard PG-13" thriller seems just a drop of blood or two away from an R rating. Not only is there a great deal of violence, but a disturbing subplot centers on young women being kidnapped into the seedy world of sex slavery. The themes of revenge, vigilantism, sex and drug trafficking, and international political corruption are too intense for young audiences. Language is moderate ("s--t," "a--hole"), but drug use is widespread (though not a lot of actual use is shown on camera), and characters also drink and smoke.

What's the story?

In TAKEN, Liam Neeson plays Bryan Mills, a former CIA operative who's retired early to Los Angeles to be closer to his 17-year-old daughter Kim (Maggie Grace). Bryan reluctantly agrees to let Kim travel to Europe with her impetuous friend Amanda (Katie Cassidy), but only if she takes an international cell phone with her and promises to call every day. His concerns seem quite justified: Within half an hour of landing in Paris, Kim and Amanda are kidnapped into a disturbing world of sex trafficking. Luckily for Kim, she was checking in with her dad when the kidnapping took place, so Bryan is immediately able to use his counterintelligence skills to track down the European thugs responsible for her capture.

Is it any good?

QUALITY
 

Neeson is an actor of considerable gravitas, and it's downright puzzling why this is his first meaty role in a mainstream film since Batman Begins. While he's well cast as an unstoppable father who could -- and would -- do serious damage to anyone in order to save his daughter, he's just too good for this revenge flick. And Grace, who's actually 25, plays Kim as way too immature (she even affects the awkward run of an uncoordinated 8-year-old girl). No wonder she was such an easy mark.

Still, this thriller could be used as a cautionary tale for trusting high school girls traveling abroad. Kim and Amanda disclose so much information to a complete stranger -- even sharing a cab with him -- that it's eye-rollingly infuriating. Perhaps French director Pierre Morel thinks wealthy L.A. teens would act this way, but it's hard to swallow. But even harder to believe is that a CIA-trained specialist would kill seemingly everyone (and that's no exaggeration) he meets without saving anyone other than his daughter. Morel shows dozens of women enslaved for their bodies, but in the end audiences are supposed to just forget about them and cheer for Kim? That's quite disturbing.

Families can talk about...

  • Families can talk about what makes this PG-13-rated movie different from R-rated films.

  • Is the violence less graphic or upsetting? Why or why not? What impact does seeing this kind of violence have on teens?

  • Families can also discuss the ethical and moral lines that characters cross in the movie. Are Bryan's actions justified because he finds his daughter?

  • Kim and her friend partially to blame for their perilous dilemma? What mistakes did they make?

  • How are Americans portrayed in the film (versus Europeans)?

Movie details

Theatrical release date:January 30, 2009
DVD release date:May 12, 2009
Cast:Famke Janssen, Liam Neeson, Maggie Grace
Director:Pierre Morel
Studio:Twentieth Century Fox
Genre:Thriller
Run time:94 minutes
MPAA rating:PG-13
MPAA explanation:intense sequences of violence, disturbing thematic material, sexual content, some drug references and language

This review of Taken was written by

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Quality

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Learning ratings

  • Best: Really engaging; great learning approach.
  • Very Good: Engaging; good learning approach.
  • Good: Pretty engaging; good learning approach.
  • Fair: Somewhat engaging; OK learning approach.
  • Not for Learning: Not recommended for learning.
  • Not for Kids: Not age-appropriate for kids; not recommended for learning.

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Written byAnonymous November 25, 2014
age 15+
 

Violent but cool neeson thriller has lots of death and pushes the PG-13 limits

My rating:R for violence,sexual content and language
Teen, 14 years old Written byBrybry102 July 20, 2011
age 9+
 

Greatest Movie.

Well you parents are crazy, this shows the way the world is! the world isnt a happy place with Just butterflies!! and yes the dad is willing to kill anyone in his way, he loves his daughter and wants her safe and happy, now come on! you parents would do the same thing! This is the best movie i have ever seen. So stop being so strict!
What other families should know
Great role models
Parent of a 17 year old Written bymineralsgirl March 13, 2011
age 10+
 
Most parents don't want their kids to know what goes on in the world, you think you are protecting them. Protect them with the truth, The Truth is Knowledge. The "it's bad", your too young", etc just doesn't work for kids, they want to know why. Remember when you were a kid and your mom told you no, was that good enough for you? You want to keep your kids safe, let them watch movies that are real. Let them see the dangers for themselves. The don't talk to strangers will mean something after watching a true to life story. Tweens are perfect victims due to the fact they are still trusting of strangers no matter how much you tell them "Don't talk to strangers" Don't think Tweens are not victims of human trafficking, if you do, you are just a naive as your preteen. Want your kids safe, let them watch the movie
Parent of a 16 year old Written bymomluvsmovies April 2, 2009
age 15+
 

Think twice before taking a tween or teen to see this show!

I took my 15 year old daughter to see the movie and now I am wishing I hadn't. It was very disturbing to see young women being thrown into the sex/prostitute ring and to see a father disregard all laws and human life to get her back.
What other families should know
Too much violence
Too much sex
Too much drinking/drugs/smoking

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