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Review: ‘Taken’ TV series keeps all the action and gunfire of movies

The+cover+art+for+the+TV+series+Taken.

The cover art for the TV series “Taken.”

Nearly a decade ago, the original “Taken” film that began the unforgettable trilogy was released. Audiences everywhere were floored by the action, Liam Neeson’s performance and the immortal words spoken by Neeson’s character, Bryan Mills: “I will look for you, I will find you and I will kill you.” Of course, Mills, a retired CIA field operative, more than carries out his declared threat.

Following the end of the trilogy with the premiere of “Taken 3” in January 2015, audiences were disappointed watching Bryan Mills onscreen was over. Luckily, NBC has given us a delayed New Year’s present in the form of a prequel television series, “Taken,” which tells the story of Bryan Mills before we knew him as the determined father in the 2008 film.

RELATED: Five shows to binge-watch over Spring Break

The pilot, which aired on NBC on February 27, begins with a young Bryan Mills, played by Clive Standen, on a train with his younger sister. Interestingly enough, the prequel takes place in the modern day. Mills and his sister are enjoying a leisurely chat when Mills begins glancing around suspiciously and instructs his sister to do as he says with the intent of protecting her. Of course, only moments later, Mills is engaged in a shootout with armed men. 

Tragically, following the shootout, Mills finds his beloved sister dead, having been shot in the chaos. Following this incident, Christina Hart, portrayed by Jennifer Beals, a deputy director of National Intelligence, begins to track Mills’ movements with the help of her team. This includes bugging his phone. 

Following his sister’s funeral, Mills deducts that he is being watched and leaves his parents’ home in order to keep them from experiencing the same fate as his sister. He returns to his own home, and engages in a shootout with men sent to retrieve him, alive. As it turns out, a terrorist and drug lord named Carlos Mejia holds a grudge against Mills due to the fact that Mills killed Mejia’s son. A Green Beret at the time, Mills had killed said son in order to protect an undercover DEA agent named Mike Hall, played by Kris Holden-Ried.

Unfortunately, Hall betrays Mills to Mejia in order to protect his own daughter and Mills, now fully aware of Mejia’s involvement in the death of his sister, gives himself up to Mejia’s men. Nearly tortured, Hart’s team intervenes and shoots Mills before he can get revenge on Mejia. Mills is not seriously hurt and upon waking in the hospital, Hart herself greets him and offers him a position on her team. He does not answer, leaving it up in the air at the episode’s end, but it’s safe to say we know what his answer will be. 

Standen does a fair job of portraying Bryan Mills. While he’s no Liam Neeson, he does a decent job acting the part of the rugged, tough and no-nonsense CIA operative we all know and love. On top of this, Standen is convincing as a scorned brother intent on exacting revenge for his fallen sister. His guilt in his failure to protect her is his main drive as of yet. While it may be difficult to see anyone other than Liam Neeson as Bryan Mills, Standen has a way of adding to the Bryan Mills character.

The show is dark and intense and maintains some of the same ideas, such as frequent gunfire and killing bad guys, that the film trilogy preserved. From minute one, the pilot has a way of demanding your attention, especially since there’s something going on in every scene. As of now, the pilot and episodes two and three have aired, and the next episode will air March 20. You can watch the series on the NBC site or with a Hulu subscription.

In any case, “Taken” is definitely worth your time. If you’re not ready to part with spring break and have a need to procrastinate the inevitable work load of school, this show is a good way to otherwise occupy your time.

RELATED: Review: ‘Logan’ sends off Hugh Jackman’s Wolverine with a violent, emotionally resonant bang

It will find you and it will kill you if you don’t watch it.

via GIPHY

With this show, you’ll be taken.

Grade: A


Follow Kacie Lillejord on Twitter


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