I was deciding what movie to watch over the weekend. Wolverine is not out until Wednesday, and there wasn’t any must-see movies in my list. Initially I decided to catch The International because I thought it must be a nice movie, not from the story point-of-view, but maybe cinematography or action. Then there was the Fast and Furious 4, but when I watched the trailer, I wasn’t too excited. 

Then there is this movie called TAKEN. The title reminded me of the HBO series by Steven Spielberg, and so I didn’t think highly of this movie. But after I watched the trailer and read the synopsis, I think this story has more depth than the other films. There is the human emotional drama (like “Changeling”) with action (like “Bourne Identity”).
I didn’t realise the film is co-written by Luc Besson, and that it premiered in France more than a year ago. I was a fan of his movie ever since The Fifth Element. He’s got an interesting way of writing his story. He has no qualms about gun violence, and breaks many rules about dramatic gun scenes in favour of surprises. For instance, in the final gun scene, the Sheikh held the protaganist’s daughter hostage. The moment the Sheikh utters a word of negotiation, Niam Leeson’s character put a bullet in his head without hestitation. Woah! I would expect some kind of dilly-dally drama like many other movies.
Apart from that, I think it’s a great story, kindda like community message for the world about Europe human trafficking activities. Haha why should Singaporeans feel silly about Jack Neo’s agenda-filled movies when other countries are also doing the same, albeit with more budget? As a father to a 2-year-old daughter, the film really connects to me. My wife commented that maybe Harrison Ford would have been more convincing, but I reckon he could only portray more as a desperate dad than a level-headed one. It’s also unfair to say that Niam Leeson isn’t suited for action films. I thought he is fine because he’s already a father of a 17-year-old girl and has retired from CIA, so it shows on his face. But if the critics meant that he doesn’t look suave and stylo to be a action star, well ya I guess so. This role needs more of a father-looking character than an action-looking figure, and Niam Leeson has that fatherly look, having acted as Obi Wan Kenobe’s mentor, including some light-sabre-wielding sequences.
The only scene I thought was overly-glamourised is the long movie-tagline monologue where the character talks to the kidnapper, “… and I will find you, and I will kill you.” The voice track was perfectly recorded, and as a voice talent, Niam Leeson really sounds great narrating the lines. But it just lacks emotional context for that scene.
I like the movie. I probably won’t watch it again, but the story will live in my mind for years to come. It’s a stark reminder of the dangers of the world out there, and young people needs to be wary of strangers and never to be too wild and playful to attract unwanted attention. The worst is that young people think they are smart enough to know the dangers, but I think these organised criminals are far more intelligent to fathom what tricks they could come up with.
Recently, a friend shared with me about someone who is not being honest in a business transaction. I found out that this someone has a history of being dishonest to people he engages for jobs. My argument to my friend is that: if this person with a poor history can still survive in this trade for years, then it really says something about his street-wisdom.

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