“Taken” for a ride

If you were a 17-year-old teenage girl who has been kidnapped in Paris, drugged and sold into the sex-slave trade, who would you want your father to be?

Only one man: Bryan Mills.

The events of “Taken” are so tightly directed and scripted that you have no choice but to suspend your disbelief and go along for the 96 minute thrill ride.

Written by Luc Besson and Robert Kaumen and directed by Pierre Morel, “Taken” is a never-ending thriller.

It tells the story of Bryan Mills (Liam Neeson), an ex-CIA operative who has retired from the agency to spend more time with his 17-year-old daughter Kim (Maggie Grace). Kim lives with her mother Lenore (Famke Janssen) and her rich stepfather.

On a trip to Paris with her friend Amanda, the two girls are abducted and forced into the sex-slave trade. Mills must turn to “a very particular set of skills” he has “acquired over a very long career” or he will lose his daughter forever.

The one major achievement of this movie is that no matter how unbelievably coincidental the action may be, the motivation and reasoning behind Mills’ every move to save his daughter is believable.

Before being thrown into the non-stop, fast-paced violent world of “Taken”, the first 15 minutes of the film are effortlessly devoted to establishing character background.

Neeson is brilliant as a very convincing ex-CIA “preventer” and middle-aged father.

Telling him not to worry is “like telling water not to be wet.”

But when it’s game time for Mills, Neeson dominates the screen and becomes the only person you would want fighting to save your life.

“Taken” is next in line to box office thrillers like the Bond films, the Bourne series and “Die Hard.” In “action movie land” Mills would be sipping a Guinness beside Bond, Bourne and McClane – up until the kitchen blows up unexpectedly.

Bond, Bourne, and McClane should take note: do not take the last beer from the fridge, or Bryan Mills “will look for you, [he] will find you, and [he] will kill you.”