Reviews provided by RottenTomatoes
Luc Besson and Robert Mark Kamen saddle Neeson with indigestible dialogue and preposterous situations.
Mostly it's a grim, violent and predictable tale of a young girl in unthinkable distress.
Having a thespian of Neeson's caliber chopping down burly henchmen with his bare hands creates a pleasant cognitive dissonance for a while, but the film is unworthy of him.
Taken is movie junk food -- fun while it lasts, but not much more. Nothing wrong with that kind of snack every now and then. You just won't want a steady diet of it.
This is another unsavory mix of sentimentality and high-octane seediness from the Luc Besson factory.
Los Angeles Times:
Taken is not the kind of action film to spend much time worrying about its pedestrian script or largely indifferent acting, so it's fortunate to have Neeson in the starring role.
If it's unrepentant violence you're after, you're better off renting [director] Morel's 2004 collaboration syndicate with Besson, District B13.
Taken is an exploitation thriller, the sort of studio pic that seizes the worst the world has to offer (the sex-slave outrages that The New York Times' Nicholas Kristof exposed so brilliantly) to bolster its rote rhythms.
[A] dumped-in-January film that's better than it needs to be but, alas, still isn't good enough.
Taken is nonsense, but it's terrifically entertaining nonsense, especially in the midst of the January movie doldrums. It provides the reckless thrills that Quantum of Solace lacked.
Neeson's character calls himself a "preventer," because he keeps bad things from happening. Not this time.
[Neeson's] performance is the most perturbing thing in the film, even more so than its electrical-torture sequence or its revelations about sex-trafficking.
Some movies flirt with absurdity. Taken takes it to bed, and then out for waffles in the morning.
New York Post:
Next out of the January dreg-u-lator: A Liam Neeson thriller so lacking in ambition they should have called it Paycheck.
New York Observer:
Taken is the kind of exploitative junk everyone expects from no-talent French hack Luc Besson.
Besson's espresso-jag thrillers are all the caffeine an action fan needs until the summer thrill rides arrive.
A fleet, no-nonsense rescue thriller from the crackerjack French director Pierre Morel, Taken is satisfying (1) for the Gaelic gravitas of its star, (2) its slam-bang chase scenes and bone-snapping martial arts, and (3) the scenic backdrops of Paris.
The film is never boring. It is, however, completely preposterous.
The movie proves two things. (1) Liam Neeson can bring undeserved credibility to most roles just by playing them, and (2) Luc Besson, the co-writer, whose actioner-assembly line produced this film, turns out high-quality trash, and sometimes much better.
It's fun for about 15 minutes seeing Neeson do James Bond as Daddy Dangerous. But the surprise wears off quickly.
[Director] Morel keeps Taken moving swiftly. It's never dragged down by excess feelings; instead, it's powered by the potency of the right ones.
Minneapolis Star Tribune:
The film flirts with saying something dark and serious about pursuing justice through unjust means, then quickly chickens out.
You'll miss out on a good movie if you consider Taken just another January dumping.
If a movie's high points are a quick smack of carnage and a steely speech that everyone's already seen in the trailer, you know it must be January.
Director Pierre Morel's directing style is ruthlessly efficient, but leaves no time to ponder the plot holes or the borderline racist portrayal of vicious Albanian gangsters and sleazy Arab businessmen.
With some suspension of disbelief and a strong stomach, it's possible to get taken in, or at least absorbed, by this adrenaline-pumping action thriller.
Widescreen package is technically slick at all levels, and ditto the action choreography, in a cartoonish way.