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Taken

Blu Ray

  • Score
    60
    from 2 reviewers
    Review Date:
  • 'Taken' thrills fans with action and quality Blu-ray, but not for all tastes.

    Taken Blu-ray Front Cover

    Disc Release Date:

  • Video
    62
  • Pierre Morel's 'Taken' on Blu-ray, presented in 1080p and aspect ratio 2.34:1 by 20th Century Fox-UK, shares quality with the French version but with boosted contrast and some edge issues. Despite color inconsistencies and occasional unnatural tones, the transfer delivers solid clarity and a gritty film texture.

  • Audio
    72
  • Taken offers rich, immersive audio with DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 and diverse language options, delivering dynamic, balanced sound, though subtitles for certain scenes are missing.

  • Extra
    55
  • 'Taken' Blu-ray offers innovative extras like Real Time Mission Intelligence and making-of features but is criticized for being lightweight, with underwhelming bonus content and commentary.

  • Movie
    57
  • Taken is a gritty, action-packed thriller where Liam Neeson's ex-CIA character embarks on a ruthless rescue mission against traffickers, delivering straightforward, morally clear-cut vigilante justice with technical finesse.

    Video: 62

    Presented in its original aspect ratio of 2.34:1, encoded with MPEG-4 AVC, and awarded a 1080p transfer, "Taken" lands on Blu-ray through 20th Century Fox-UK, mirroring the French transfer utilized by EuropaCorp for their release. While there's a slight boost in contrast on the UK disc that leads to somewhat rough appearances in brighter scenes, such as those at the airport, the clarity across the board remains commendable. However, the film grapples with edge-enhancement issues in these specific segments which might detract from the overall visual fidelity. On the brighter side, the transfer is clean with no noticeable imperfections like dirt or scratches marring the viewing experience. The color grading of "Taken" will indeed prompt discussions, especially with its occasionally unnatural flesh tones amidst its raw and polished imagery juxtaposition.

    Fox's delivery of "Taken" in 1080p/AVC MPEG-4 video (2.35:1) sports a robust yet slightly inconsistent video quality. The transfer shines in brightly lit environments where colors pop, contrast is robust, and a commendable depth enhances detail. However, darker sequences exhibit an uptick in grain and a diminishment in detail clarity, obscured by the shadows. Flesh tones tend towards the colder spectrum, potentially detracting from naturalism. The image sharpness is noteworthy, though it skirts the edge of over-enhancement, occasionally manifesting slight edge halos that might catch the viewer's eye. Nevertheless, the encode maintains integrity with minimal artifacting issues.

    Notably, both the original 91-minute PG-13-rated theatrical cut and an unrated version that extends an additional 2 minutes are available on this BD-50 dual-layer disc, facilitated by seamless branching. This variation allows viewers the choice in content viewing, although regional encoding limits playback capabilities to Regions B and C compatible devices only. Whether navigating the gritty aesthetic or evaluating the technical proficiency of its presentation, "Taken" on Blu-ray offers a visually stimulating yet slightly flawed viewing endeavor that aficionados and newcomers alike will find intriguing for its sheer grit and polish blend.

    Audio: 72

    Taken" arrives on Blu-ray with a robust selection of audio tracks that showcase the film's intense action and dramatic dialogue with remarkable clarity and depth. The English DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 track stands out for its near-reference quality, offering viewers an immersive experience that is both potent and precise. This track is characterized by highly active rear channels, deep and impactful bass, and crystal-clear dialogue. The dynamic range is expansive, ensuring that every tire screech, collision, and nuanced sound score is captured with great detail and vibrancy. The mix is aggressive and enveloping, with discrete sounds finely balanced across channels and a warm, deep score that enhances the film's dramatic tension.

    However, while 'Taken' excels in its technical delivery, there are moments where the balance feels slightly off, particularly during heavy action sequences where audio enhancements can become a tad overwhelming. Despite this minor quibble, the Blu-ray's audio presentation remains impressive overall. Additionally, the inclusion of an English Descriptive Audio 5.1 track offers an unusual but potentially valuable option for those desiring narration, though its appeal may be niche.

    A point of contention among some viewers is the decision to leave certain segments of the film—specifically, a confrontation involving multiple languages—unsubtitled in English. While this choice may be deliberate to maintain authenticity, it has sparked debate about accessibility. Furthermore, it's worth noting that this UK Blu-ray edition mirrors its French counterpart, suggesting a missed opportunity by 20th Century Fox to include English subtitles. Despite this oversight, the Blu-ray compensates with comprehensive subtitle options in multiple languages, enhancing its accessibility to a broader audience.

    Extra: 55

    The Blu-ray release of "Taken" garners mixed feelings with its assortment of extras, providing both innovation and areas lacking depth. The standout feature, Real Time Mission Intelligence, enhances the viewing experience by presenting a dynamic, interactive dashboard that tracks the protagonist's progress and the fates of his adversaries in real-time, alongside geographical insights into the unfolding action. This novel addition is complemented by traditional extras like a Making Of featurette, which, despite its brevity, offers a glimpse into the minds behind the film through interviews and raw footage. The inclusion of Audio Commentaries provides technical and story insights but may test the patience of some with its French only audio track and reliance on subtitles. Additionally, Inside Action and Avant Premiere segments underwhelm, suggesting a potential for a more comprehensive future release. The added value for die-hard fans comes too from storyboard comparisons and direct online links, rounding off a package that feels both innovatively detailed and notably sparse.

    Extras included in this disc:

    • Real Time Mission Intelligence: An immersive picture-in-picture feature tracking details in real-time.
    • Making Of: Interviews and raw footage provide insights into the making of "Taken".
    • Avant Premiere: Footage from the film's Paris premiere.
    • Audio Commentaries: Two tracks offering deep dives into production and storytelling.
    • Inside Action: Side By Side Comparisons: A look at how six key scenes were brought to life.
    • Digital Copy: A standard definition digital version of the movie for portable devices.

    Movie: 57

    Taken" (2008), directed by Pierre Morel and scripted by Robert Mark Kamen alongside Luc Besson, positions itself as an uncomplicated but engaging thriller that, despite leaning heavily on established genre conventions, offers a solid entertainment package, especially for those appreciative of the kinetic energy found in the Bourne series. The film squarely fits into the vigilante movie archetype, featuring Liam Neeson in a commanding role as Bryan Mills, an ex-CIA operative driven to the edge following the abduction of his daughter by human traffickers. While the narrative trajectory may not break new ground, its execution through brisk pacing and robust action sequences provides a glossy sheen to its familiar structure.

    The essence of "Taken" lies in its action choreography and the visceral thrill of the chase, underpinned by Neeson's portrayal of Mills with a level of intensity and commitment that elevates the material. The film's visual and editing finesse, courtesy of cinematographer Michel Abramowicz and editor Frédéric Thoraval, ensures a seamless flow that compensates for its episodic script and somewhat one-dimensional characterizations. Despite this, the movie's blunt approach to the theme of vigilante justice, framed against the backdrop of human trafficking, engages with a straightforward moral compass, positioning Mills' violent quest within a realm of personal vindication rather than a nuanced exploration of justice.

    The contention around "Taken" pivots not just on its indulgence in action but in how it straddles the line between satisfying genre expectations and veering into overtly gratifying violence, potentially stirring discomfort. It mirrors the enduring appeal of vigilante films amidst societal woes, acting as a cathartic release rather than a piece encouraging introspection. Nevertheless, "Taken" solidifies its place within the genre through a well-crafted narrative pace and Neeson's compelling lead performance, ensuring its status as a notable, if not critically divisive, action thriller that resonates with audiences looking for straightforward cinematic thrills.

    Total: 60

    Taken," a film firmly rooted in the action genre, manages to carve its niche by blending the relentless pace of a thriller with the disturbingly real theme of sex trafficking. Directed by Pierre Morel and supported by the creative minds of Luc Besson and Robert Mark Kamen, the movie presents a narrative that might not resonate with everyone. Its appeal is biased towards an audience that favors cinematic experiences that are both fast-paced and laden with auditory intensity. The Blu-ray release, catered by 20th Century Fox-UK, stands out in terms of quality, offering an engaging way to experience the film's uncompromising narrative and robust action sequences. Despite some minor technical drawbacks highlighted in the review, the overall package is competent, ensuring that fans and newcomers alike find value in adding this title to their collection.

    Upon review, the Blu-ray version of "Taken" showcases commendable video and audio quality, enhancing the viewer's immersion in its tense, adrenaline-fueled storyline. While its plot might be critiqued for a lack of depth, leading to it feeling somewhat one-dimensional, it nonetheless serves its purpose as an effective piece of entertainment suitable for a thrilling Saturday night. The supplementary materials included may only be deemed adequate, yet they provide sufficient insight for enthusiasts eager to delve deeper into the film's production and thematic significance.

    In conclusion, "Taken" on Blu-ray is a product that efficiently captures the essence of the film's appeal — its relentless pacing and potent action sequences buoyed by superior visual and sound fidelity. While the narrative might not cater to all tastes, its execution remains definitive of the genre. This release is recommended for fans eager to revisit the intense journey and newcomers ready to experience Bryan Mills' quest for the first time, albeit with managed expectations regarding the depth of the supplementary content.