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Taken (Blu-ray) Official AVSforum Review

post #1 of 67
Thread Starter 
attachment.php?attachmentid=142799&d=1242401834
The Review at a Glance: (max score: 5 )

Film: attachment.php?attachmentid=109945&d=1210373692

Extras: attachment.php?attachmentid=109943&d=1210373692

Audio/Video total rating:

( Max score: 100 )

91






Studio and Year: 20th Century Fox - 2008
MPAA Rating: R/Unrated
Feature running time: 91/93 Minutes
Genre: Action/Thrilller

Disc Format: BD-50
Encoding: AVC (MPEG-4)
Video Aspect: 2.40:1
Resolution: 1080p/24


Audio Format(s): English DTS-HD 5.1 Master Audio, Spanish/French Dolby Digital 5.1
Subtitles: English SDH, Spanish
Starring: Liam Neeson, Maggie Grace, Famke Janssen, Leland Orser, Jon Gries, Kate Cassidy
Directed by: Pierre Morel
Music by: Nathaniel Mechaly
Written by: Luc Besson & Robert Mark Kamen
Region Code: A

Blu-ray Disc release Date: May 12, 2009







"I will find you, I will kill you"



Film Synopsis:

When a former spy’s estranged daughter is kidnapped in France, he 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.



My Take:

attachment.php?attachmentid=142801&d=1242402824

Brian Mills (Liam Neeson), is a former CIA operative trained in hand to hand combat who struggles as a divorcee and father of 17-year old Kim (Maggie Grace). Living with Brian’s ex-wife Lenore (Famke Janssen), Kim rarely gets the chance to see her father. He has given up his career to be closer to as well reconnect with Kim as he spent most of her early years as am absentee father. Kim clearly loves her dad and is open to the idea. When the opportunity arises to travel to Europe with her best friend, Kim convinces her dad to let her go on the trip by leaving out some very important details. He is reluctant but agrees only after supplying her with an international cell phone and her promise to call him upon her arrival. The first stop for the girls is Paris, but hours after they arrive they are victims of a disturbing break-in and abduction by an Albanian criminal organization that specializes in trafficking young women. Now, with only 96 hours to find his daughter before she will disappear forever, time is running out and Brian Mills must put his CIA expertise to the test before it’s too late.

It seemed like everyone that I knew who saw this film in the theater liked it. I looked forward to seeing it and I have to say that I really enjoyed Taken. Both the theatrical and unrated cuts are included on this Blu-ray Disc. I watched the unrated cut which adds just a few additional minutes to the theatrical version’s run time. Taking it strictly as a butt kickin’ action flick it is lots of fun. Looking at it as a father who has a 17 year old daughter I was able to appreciate the film’s raw sense of emotion and visceral ruthlessness. Liam Neeson has no trouble conveying this and I thought he came off quite well in his portrayal of Brian. He played the steely nerved, speak softly and carry a big stick type with slick competence. I appreciated the establishment of the connection between Brian and Kim. The fact that his ex-wife, Lenora (Lenny), is now married to a wealthy businessman who can provide both she and Kim with anything isn’t something that is easy for him. He definitely feels the need/desire to make up for lost time and the two have a good relationship. Being a typical 17 year old she isn’t straight with him about exactly what she and her friend Amanda are planning when they get to Europe. Traveling across country following U2 on tour? By the time he learns about it’s too late. At this point Brian seems content in his retirement and perfectly happy to see his old work buddies and pick up some high profile security work here and there. He has remained sharp and once Kim is taken he goes into seek and destroy mode for those responsible.

I think that viewers can share, at various levels, his passion/commitment to the task at hand. His every move it dictated by purpose, fear, and unwavering dedication in securing Kim’s safe return. The action kicks in thusly and the pace is non-stop. The fight sequences and gun play are done well and feature plenty of bone cracking, blood and flying ammo. There are several chase sequences that are good but the longer car chase near the construction site gave me a touch of vertigo with its tight camera work and quick cuts/edits. I have heard more than one reference to the plausibility of someone Neeson’s age being in a high octane thriller/action film like this. Personally I had no problem with it and I thought that the screenplay and the fighting techniques used didn’t present more of a stretch than any other action based movie of this type. The bottom line is that this is an entertaining genre film that features a strong central character that is easy to identify with. His motivation isn’t dictated by money or personal gain but by a willingness to protect that which is most precious to him, his daughter. I had a blast.





Parental Guide:

The unrated version contains brutal violence, including a scene of torture, language and thematic material.






AUDIO/VIDEO - By The Numbers:
REFERENCE = 92-100 / EXCELLENT = 83-91 / GOOD = 74-82 / AVERAGE = 65-73 / BELOW AVERAGE = under 65

**My audio/video ratings are based upon a comparative made against other high definition media/blu-ray disc.**


(Each rating is worth 4 points with a max of 5 per category)

Audio: 92



  • Dynamics: attachment.php?attachmentid=109948&d=1210373699

  • Low frequency extension: attachment.php?attachmentid=109947&d=1210373699

  • Surround Sound presentation: attachment.php?attachmentid=109946&d=1210373699

  • Clarity/Detail: attachment.php?attachmentid=109947&d=1210373699

  • Dialogue Reproduction:



Video: 90


(Each rating is worth 4 points with a max of 5 per category)


  • Resolution/Clarity: attachment.php?attachmentid=109947&d=1210373699

  • Black level/Shadow detail: attachment.php?attachmentid=109947&d=1210373699

  • Color reproduction: attachment.php?attachmentid=109948&d=1210373699

  • Fleshtones: attachment.php?attachmentid=109946&d=1210373699

  • Compression: attachment.php?attachmentid=109947&d=1210373699
attachment.php?attachmentid=142802&d=1242402824

Taken comes to Blu-ray Disc from Fox featuring 1080p AVC encoded video that has an average bitrate of 34 mbps and lossless DTS-HD 5.1 Master Audio sound that has an average bitrate of 4.2 mbps.

This is a great looking high definition presentation from Fox that is nearly reference quality. Colors are bold and vivid with pleasing depth and a diverse palette that takes full advantage of high definition’s higher fidelity. Complexions tend to have a bit of a warm, golden touch but don’t come off as over cooked or unnatural in depiction. Contrast hits the mark and strikes an excellent balance with brightness which empowers colors and whites while preserving solid visibility in low lighting. Blacks are inky and dynamic with discernible gradational quality that provides a near infinite sense of depth. Grain is rendered naturally overall but I did notice that during several of the dark sequences that it took on more prominence which sometimes obscured detail in backgrounds. This also has a mile effect on the perception of sharpness. I don’t necessarily see this as problematic but felt it worthy of note. Daytime and brighter segments are razor sharp and exhibit excellent delineation and dimensional perspective. Images are impeccably detailed in all but a handful of instances where resolution isn’t quite as definitive.

The DTS-HD Master Audio soundtrack is demonstration quality and is sure to please those who like to play their systems loud. This recording has excellent dynamic range and boasts superlative clarity and high level detail that is impressive. Dialogue is definitive and appreciably lucid through the center channel as it reaches far into the room. It’s located just slightly in front of the left/right speakers within the acoustic space it occupies in the soundfield. I never had any trouble distinguishing even the slightest changes in the pitch or tonal inflection of voices. Front channel separation and imaging spot on. This drew out both large and small sound elements and allowed their directional correlation based upon the onscreen events to be definable. The mix makes effective and sometimes aggressive use of the surround channels to accentuate the front soundstage and reproduce the spatial and discrete sounds of this busy soundtrack. During the action based sequences the listening position is submerged into a 360 degree web of sound that can be intense as it bombards the senses with a combination of well placed sound effects and musical ambience. This is a dynamically strong audio mix that utilizes low frequency effects to provide viscerally potent impact. Bass response can be prodigious as it occasionally reaches ultra low depths that reach into sub hertz regions. The LFE channel is mixed a bit on the hot side which sometimes elicits deep bass punctuation on sounds where it felt exaggerated. I can’t help but feel guilty for bringing that up because in reality it isn’t a big deal as long as the quality of the bass is high. In this case it certainly is as I found the bass to clean, taut and seemingly ever reaching. I say turn this one and up and enjoy the ride. As a whole this is a well balanced audio/video presentation that definitely makes for an engaging and demo quality home theater experience.



Bonus Features:


  • Theatrical and Unrated versions

  • Commentary by Director Pierre Morel, Cinematographer Michael Ambramowicz and Michel Julienne (unrated version only)

  • Black Ops field manual: BonusView PiP feature – Geographical locaters, anatomical info, self updating mission dashboard and more

  • Le making of: Making of featurette – 18 minutes

  • (HD) Avant premiere – 4 minute coverage

  • (HD) Inside action: Side by side comparison – 6 segments from the film

  • (HD) BD Trailer - Notorious

  • Digital Copy Bonus Disc – A standard definition version of the film that can be downloaded from a compatible PC/MAC to a portable media player
attachment.php?attachmentid=142800&d=1242401834



Final Thoughts:

Taken doesn’t bring anything new to the action film genre but in my opinion it is a well conceived, executed and ultimately entertaining film that is ably enacted by star Liam Neeson. Its debut on Blu-ray Disc is every bit as competent and features a well balanced and supreme high definition audio/video presentation. The bonus features don’t keep pace and are just average but there is exclusive content and the Digital Copy Disc gives fans the option of taking it on the go. This is a must have for every genre fan because it rocks.








attachment.php?attachmentid=109949&d=1210373731






Ralph Potts
AVS Forum Blu-ray Reviews





Reference Review System:


JVC DLA-RS20 1080p High Definition Front Projector
Carada Precision Brilliant White 96" Screen
Oppo 970HD universal disc DVD Player (480i HDMI)
Toshiba HD-XA2 HD DVD Player (HDMI Audio/Video)
Panasonic DMP-BD55K Blu-ray disc Player (HDMI Audio/Video)
Sony Playstation 3 Blu-ray disc Player (HDMI Audio/Video)
Marantz DV7001 Universal Disc Player
Denon AVR 5308CI THX Ultra 2 Preamp/Video Processor
Sherbourn Technologies - 7/200 Seven Channel Amplifier
Philips TSU9400 Pro Series Touch Panel Remote Control
Canton "Ergo" Series speakers
Axiom Audio QS8 Quadpolar speakers
SV Sound PB-13 Ultra (Rosenut finish)
APC AV S15BLK Power Conditioner/Surge Protector
Furman SPR-20i Stable Power Regulator
Wireworld, VizionWare, Audioquest, Best Deal Cables - Audio/Video/Speaker Cabling
Cool Components - CP-CP102 cooling package
post #2 of 67
Again, Ralph....great review. Correct on all counts.

Yes, it's been done before. But, the sound alone is "demo" quality material. PQ is as good as the audio, too.

Plus, it will keep you enthused beginning to end.
post #3 of 67
Thanks for the excellent review Ralph! I loved this in the theater and will be having some friends and family over this weekend that haven't seen it yet. Brian's character very much reminded me of a 0 tolerance Jack Bauer but with a bit more of the Jason Bourne hand to hand skills.
post #4 of 67
I absolutely loved this movie in the theater....my only complaint was that the film was just begging to be R Rated.... too bad the unrated cut is only 2 or so minutes longer...i was hoping for a bit more
post #5 of 67
Watched this with my son last night. Very enjoyable. My only complaint is in the casting and the writing for the daughter. She just seemed to be acting a little immature for a 17-year old lady. Certainly, a minor critisism.

Neeson is so fine. Beautifully shot. Paris at night is such a great backdrop for any motion picture.
post #6 of 67
Ralph,

I found this to be one of the best movies of this genre in the last decade or so. I loved it!!
post #7 of 67
Never got the chance to see this in the theater but based on the review and the fact that I still really want to see it I do believe that this will be a blind buy for me.
post #8 of 67
Quote:
Originally Posted by hconwell View Post

Watched this with my son last night. Very enjoyable. My only complaint is in the casting and the writing for the daughter. She just seemed to be acting a little immature for a 17-year old lady. Certainly, a minor critisism.
.

Yeah, I'd agree with you on that one. She was a bit immature in the beginning....but I felt that she did a really good job once the kidnapping took place
post #9 of 67
Ralph,
Would you tell us about the sub title info for cih set up .
Thanks.
post #10 of 67
Had as good a time watching this last night as I did in the theater. Good job on the review. I thought Liam Neeson nailed his performance.
post #11 of 67
I wanna see this movie even more now.
post #12 of 67
I got soooo sick of the commercials for this movie. Annoying!

"Oh, my God they got Amanda!"

"If you let my daughter go now, that will be the end of it, if you don't I will look for you, I will find you, and I will kill you"

"Good Luck"
post #13 of 67
Watched this last night and thought that it was aces in every way. While very, very violent, the violence was never gratuitous. It made absolute sense in the context that it was in. The dialogue was very sharply written and Liam Neeson's performance was letter perfect with not a wasted expression or movement.
post #14 of 67
Quote:
Originally Posted by HSINGH View Post

Ralph,
Would you tell us about the sub title info for cih set up .
Thanks.

I watched it last night and the subtitles are in the image not the bars.
post #15 of 67
Quote:
Originally Posted by Stormshadow4life View Post

Yeah, I'd agree with you on that one. She was a bit immature in the beginning....but I felt that she did a really good job once the kidnapping took place

Maggie Grace is actually 25 - playing a 17 year old. I think they were trying too hard to make her seem younger than she really is. The film was such a surprise hit that there are rumors of a sequel.
post #16 of 67
REALLY liked this film. I knew I would when I saw the trailer. Not sure how you do a sequel, but the flick didn't pull any punches and wasn't afraid to not play well with others. Picked it up today and paid the confiscatory $25 for a movie, but figured why not support making films that people want to see... rather than settling to find a price they can sell drivel at.
post #17 of 67
I loved this movie. One of the better action movies to come out this year on blu-ray for sure! I thought the picture had somewhat of a gritty and grainy effect to it, which is the directors intent I am sure. It wasn't nearly as bad as The Wrestler though. I thought picture quality was overall pretty good on this disk. I thought the audio was even better though. Great audio on this disc! Keep brining out those titles with DTS HD soundtracks!
post #18 of 67
Quote:
Originally Posted by hconwell View Post

Watched this with my son last night. Very enjoyable. My only complaint is in the casting and the writing for the daughter. She just seemed to be acting a little immature for a 17-year old lady. Certainly, a minor critisism.

Neeson is so fine. Beautifully shot. Paris at night is such a great backdrop for any motion picture.

I found her performance to be annoying, though that was probably the point. I also thought Liam's "dorky father" role was a bit too much, but that of course changed once he was in his element... again, probably the point.

I was pretty disappointed with the movie overall and PQ (am I the only one not blown away by the PQ?). It was pretty hyped for me, so I'll try it again.
post #19 of 67
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by shamus View Post

I found her performance to be annoying, though that was probably the point. I also thought Liam's "dorky father" role was a bit too much, but that of course changed once he was in his element... again, probably the point.

I was pretty disappointed with the movie overall and PQ (am I the only one not blown away by the PQ?). It was pretty hyped for me, so I'll try it again.

Greetings,

I wouldn't use the term blown away. I think it does look great and its strengths mate well with the film's elements.

Give it another spin shamus..

Cheers,
post #20 of 67
Quote:
Originally Posted by Ralph Potts View Post

Greetings,

I wouldn't use the term blown away. I think it does look great and its strengths mate well with the film's elements.

Give it another spin shamus..

Cheers,

Sorry, Ralph... I didn't mean you. I will definetly give it another spin though.
post #21 of 67
One of the best movies for 2009!!

After seeing this 6-7 times in the movie theatre needless to say i have to have a copy. Liam's performance was great and the story/plot was also good.

Although Maggie's character (the daughter) in this movie was soo annoying. Good thing the action scenes made up for it.

Thanks for the review Ralph.

Cheers
post #22 of 67
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by shamus View Post

Sorry, Ralph... I didn't mean you. I will definetly give it another spin though.

Greetings,

shamus, no problem and no offense taken at all so no need to apologize.

If you remember post back after you have seen it again.


Cheers,
post #23 of 67
Quote:
Originally Posted by Mr.G View Post

Maggie Grace is actually 25 - playing a 17 year old. I think they were trying too hard to make her seem younger than she really is. The film was such a surprise hit that there are rumors of a sequel.

Yeah ... I mentioned that to my son as we watched it. Neeson's character was so robust, so strong, that I thought "This story has enough legs to carry a sequel". Not about his daughter ... but just about him ... and, perhaps, a crusade he might go on.
post #24 of 67
Quote:
Originally Posted by Ralph Potts View Post

Greetings,

shamus, no problem and no offense taken at all so no need to apologize.

If you remember post back after you have seen it again.


Cheers,

Want to also say "Thanks" for the review Ralph. We're always peeking at them ... and they're very helpful.
post #25 of 67
I watched this tonight and enjoyed it, just wish it was a little longer...Liam Neeson was great in it

Maggie Grace played the daughter and was too old for the part and seemed to be over doing it a bit to try and act 17 and ended up acting like a girl that was much younger
post #26 of 67
Hey!

Great movie and well written review. Being a father to a lovely, strong willed young daughter made me appreciate Liam Neeson's subtle and very fine performance. Rarely do you see acting this good in an action film. It will definately be a repeated screener for all my friends. Forget about any genre qualms you might have and buy "Taken" and enjoy the Blu-Ray experiance.
post #27 of 67
Quote:
Originally Posted by Stormshadow4life View Post

I absolutely loved this movie in the theater....my only complaint was that the film was just begging to be R Rated.... too bad the unrated cut is only 2 or so minutes longer...i was hoping for a bit more

I believe the unrated cut is the original cut of the film release in international markets. Fox just decided that an action, revenge, thriller should be accessable to the children and cut it down to PG-13. As far as I know though this unrated cut is the movie as it was meant to be shown.

Quote:
Originally Posted by hconwell View Post

Watched this with my son last night. Very enjoyable. My only complaint is in the casting and the writing for the daughter. She just seemed to be acting a little immature for a 17-year old lady. Certainly, a minor critisism.

I see a lot of people saying this all over the place and I don't find it to be a valid complaint. She is a girl who just turned 17 and is clearly at this point in her life a spoiled little rich brat. Frankly the way she acts is pretty much what I would expect from a spoiled brat who is used to getting her way when she wants it. I mean this is a girl who wanted and GOT a horse for her birthday, clearly everything is handed to her on silver plater. For an example MTV has some stupid show called My Super Sweet 16, which is real girls that act like that.

And just wanted to say thanks for another good review Ralph.
post #28 of 67
There is only one person who needed to die in this movie and did not - the mother. What a vindictive self-absorbed shrew, I'd sell her to white slavers for three magic beans... actually, three non-magic beans. Hell, I'll throw in three cans of beans...
post #29 of 67
Great movie indeed, the amount of action was just right. I have watched it at least 5 times so far and still enjoy it as much as the first time

Quote:
Originally Posted by Stormshadow4life View Post

I absolutely loved this movie in the theater....my only complaint was that the film was just begging to be R Rated.... too bad the unrated cut is only 2 or so minutes longer...i was hoping for a bit more[IMG]http://www.***********************/track/img/3358/s09v0317fvxp/00.gif[/IMG]
post #30 of 67
Quote:
Originally Posted by MEC2 View Post

There is only one person who needed to die in this movie and did not - the mother. What a vindictive self-absorbed shrew, I'd sell her to white slavers for three magic beans... actually, three non-magic beans. Hell, I'll throw in three cans of beans...



Man hope that wasn't a spoiler

Blind buy for me, after reading Ralph review....I've also heard great things about this film just about from everyone who' seen it..

Djoel
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