Taken20th Century Fox (Blu-ray)
When his estranged daughter is kidnapped in Paris, a former spy sets out to find her at any cost. Relying on his special skills, he tracks down the ruthless gang that abducted her and launches a one-man war to bring them to justice and rescue his daughter.
The vigilante genre isn't known for breaking new ground, and Taken is no exception, but it's damn entertaining! Director Pierre Morel does a great job building the suspense in the first act, and once Neeson begins dispensing his brand of justice, there's plenty of action. The ending is satisfying, although predictable. Regardless, it's one of the best action films I've seen in a long time.
Most day-and-date titles look fantastic on Blu-ray, and Taken continues the trend. The AVC encode has great detail, rich color saturation, and inky blacks. Both close-ups and long shots are clearly defined and sharp, flesh tones are natural and well-balanced, and the print is in perfect condition. The one downside is that the director spends very little time showing off the city of Paris, which looks magnificent in HD.
The DTS-HD MA 5.1 soundtrack exhibits phenomenal bass and an enveloping surround presence. Gunshots sound freakishly realistic in both depth and clarity, and the track's frequency response is extraordinary. Dialog is always intelligible, and discrete effects fly across the room from every direction in the well-choreographed action scenes.
The two-disc set includes a digital copy of the film as well as a smattering of supplements. The best feature is the Bonus View "Black Ops Field Manual" that keeps an injury, kill, and time-remaining counter during the film. It also provides some interesting tidbits on various subjects—for instance; did you know that human trafficking is the third most profitable criminal activity in the world? Additional bonus features include two commentaries —one in French—as well as both the theatrical and unrated versions of the film (I watched the unrated version, which has two additional minutes). Rounding things out are a making-of featurette, a look at the Paris premiers, and side-by-side comparisons of six action sequences, which show the rough footage next to the final version found in the film.
The story is far from original, but the action is non-stop, and the 90 minutes fly by thanks to superb directing and Neeson's action-hero persona. The audio and video are tremendous, making this an easy film to recommend.