Posted on Wednesday, December 14th, 2016 by Jacob Hall
The chief appeal of the Taken movies wasn’t the action (it was pretty good at best) and it certainly wasn’t any kind of nuanced storytelling. The reason Taken was a hit, the reason the first film is still a damn good movie eight years later, the reason they were able to squeeze two far inferior sequels out of a barebones premise, is Liam Neeson. When Bryan Mills (or as I like to call him, John Taken) monologues about his specific set of skills, Neeson does something that most action heroes cannot: he makes you believe that he is actually capable of the carnage he is about to wreak. Neeson’s weary, no-bullshit performance is the reason these movies every worked in the first place.
So when you watch the trailer for NBC’s new Taken television series, there should be one question bouncing around your brain: can Taken really be Taken without Liam Neeson?
Although it appears to take place in the modern day, the Taken series is actually a prequel, following a young Bryan Mills as he is recruited into the CIA after saving a train full of innocent bystanders from a team of deadly gunmen. Of course, there is one victim and the victim just so happens to be someone close to Bryan, which is all the motivation he needs to dedicate his life to cultivating that special set of skills that will come in handy once he ages into Liam Neeson.
And because this is the year 2016, the trailer embraces the most eye-rolling of modern trailer cliches: a slowed-down, depressing version of a famous pop song. In this case, it’s R.E.M.’s “The One I Love.”
I haven’t seen Vikings, so I’m unfamiliar with Clive Standen, who has the unenviable task of stepping into Neeson’s size badass boots. He has the handsome, square-jawed look you’d want from a tortured former Green Beret who has decided to dedicate his life to rescuing people for the CIA (will that actually be the plot of every episode?), but that’s honestly all I can say at the moment. Enlighten me, Vikings fans: is this good casting? Because right now, I’m more excited by the prospect of Friday Night Lights star Gaius Charles apparently being in this series, because “Texas Forever” and all of that.
The Taken series is set to premiere on February 27, 2017 on NBC. Luc Besson, who wrote the original film and produced all three, is on board as an executive producer.
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This new, modern-day, edge-of-your-seat thriller follows the origin story of younger, hungrier, former Green Beret Bryan Mills as he deals with a personal tragedy that shakes his world. As he fights to overcome the incident and exact revenge, Mills is pulled into a career as a deadly CIA operative, a job that awakens his very particular, and very dangerous, set of skills.