stars] [IMDb Link] [Amazon Link]

Taken got decent reviews, with almost everyone liking the star, Liam Neeson. I suspect that if it starred Steven Seagal instead, it would be near-universally panned as the exploitative xenophobic schlock it is.

Which is fine with me, mind you, because I kind of like exploitative xenophobic schlock.

You may have picked up most of the plot already from TV snippets: Neeson plays Bryan Mills, divorced and lonely, aching to re-establish a relationship with his daughter Kim. She can bend him around his little finger, so when she pleads for permission to travel to Europe with a slightly-older friend, he reluctantly gives permission despite deep misgivings.

Which turn out to be utterly prescient, because like most young female American tourists, about 43 minutes after landing in Paris, Kim is kidnapped by Albanian white slavers. Fortunately, Bryan is an ex-spy. Despite his lumpy middle-aged exterior, he's actually quite good at ruthlessly taking out bad guys with foreign accents. Unless he needs information from them, in which case he tortures them first. And in this regard, he makes Jack Bauer look like Paul Blart, Mall Cop. Bryan is perfectly cool with hooking you up to the local electricity faster than you can say "Nancy Pelosi".

So it's good, mindless fun. It has an impressive body count for its PG-13 rating.

Last Modified 2014-11-30 3:15 PM EDT