Taken is easily the most outrageous movie with trafficking as a central theme. Taken, a movie starring Liam Neeson, is trash, even dangerous! It is ugly and shameful. If I am speaking strongly in your opinion please remember that, as I review anti-trafficking blogs I see lots of strong talk. This is my opinion and as far as I am concerned Taken puts me in danger as I shall explain shortly.
Briefly the movie is about our hero, actor Neeson, whose movie daughter, 17 years old, goes to Paris and is kidnapped – “taken” – by kidnappers who will eventually auction her off. Of course the bad guys are either the Albanian mafia who do the kidnapping or super wealthy Arabs who buy the girl. Right! Obviously very bad guys!
The Death Toll mounts – –
Here is the problem: by my count the hero, who claims special skills due to his previous employment by the United States government,
kills 25 people some of whom look like ordinary security guards. There are at least five more serious injuries, if not deaths. Two cars, driven by people not otherwise involved, are hijacked at gun point by the “hero.” Two people are tortured and one is apparently left to die while the torture continues as our hero walks away. The wife of a French police or government official is shot as a means to make that official tell the hero what he needs to know to further the story line.
All this is very exciting of course and exactly the kind of extreme action some movie goers salivate over. I would rather watch a slasher movie. Taken has much in common with slasher movies in my opinion.
The Punch Line – –
For me the punch line is that, after accumulating the biggest tally of blatant murders since the French Civil War, our hero comes home to meet his family at the airport as if nothing special had happened back in Paris. Of course in real life he would spend years in jail and it would be amazing if he ever got out. But, silly me, he is the American hero and he only killed traffickers. So, no problemo!
The Message – –
What kind of message does this send to the sometimes blood thirsty American mentality? I am reminded of the extreme turn the anti-abortion industry took a few years ago when zealots shot doctors who performed legal abortions.
Should I be looking over my shoulder for the approach of anti-trafficking zealots who might seek me out in Thailand because I am offering up this more nuanced story about trafficking?
Vigilantism is real!
Will pimps, prostitutes, and their customers be in danger because red blooded (armed) Americans think they know what they’re doing based on Liam Neeson’s example of how things will turn out if they take the law into their own hands? Maybe so!