Liam Nesson, Taken

Stephanie Branchu/20th Century Fox

Review in a Hurry: Liam Neeson proves that he's a total badass. As an ex-spy, he shoots, kicks and karate-chops his way through Paris to rescue his kidnapped daughter. But even he can't knock sense into this silly action-thriller.

The Bigger Picture: Don't let your daughters go to France! That's the dire warning in violent, xenophobic Taken—surprising considering it's cowritten/produced by Luc Besson—which racks up plot contrivances and cultural stereotypes along with the dead bodies.

Bryan Mills (Neeson) is a former U.S. government operative who gave up his career and moved to L.A. to reconnect with teen daughter Kim (Maggie Grace). But Bryan's frosty ex-wife (Famke Janssen) and her wealthy new hubby make it tough for him to compete for the kid's affections—like, they buy her a pony for her birthday, whee!

When Kim asks for permission to travel abroad, cautious Bryan balks but reluctantly relents. His worst fears become realized when she and her giggly gal pal are abducted in Paris by unknown assailants.

With only 96 hours to keep his girl from becoming a drugged-out sex slave, Bryan delves into the City of Light's dark underbelly and wrangles with Albanian baddies, corrupt French officials and Arabian traffickers—including a Jabba-the-Hutt sheik who wants to deflower li'l Kim.

Can Daddy outsmart everyone, miraculously dodge bullets and save his baby from evil foreigners? Oh, please. Don't you get taken, too.

Taken is too caught up in amped-up action sequences to bother with character development or complex plotting—oy, the convenient coincidences. At least Neeson brings depth and intensity to his underwritten role and makes this formulaic revenge flick more watchable than it deserves to be.

The 180—a Second Opinion: Often cast as gentle-giant types, Neeson looks to be having a blast tapping into his inner rage-aholic and taking no prisoners.

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