Taken Blu-ray Review
Twentieth Century Fox presents this feature in 1080P /AVC MPEG-4 framed in a 2.35:1 ratio.
The film has a gritty European feel to it along with some excellent levels of grain to complement the look. The result is a very film like appearance and the theatrical feel is a very welcome bonus.
Contrast and detail levels are high throughout most of the movie, with the standout scenes being anything shot in the daylight. Blacks are solid, so no complaints there either. Darker scenes on the other hand don't fare quite as well since the grain becomes a little bit more intrusive, as does the apparent loss in the finer detail.
The movie has a razor sharp image which looks good in High Definition and the cut throat action does at times look exceptional. On closer inspection you'll find that the picture has been artificially sharpened but aside from that there are no discernible artefacts of note to interfere with your viewing pleasure.
The colours are bold and the palette is probably a little too warm. Fleshtones felt a little too rosy for my liking but they're easy enough to live with for most.
Overall there are no real biggies, only minor niggles and everything still looks real good. Taken is a good high definition encode and this blu-ray is a very solid effort.
The blu-ray disc features a Lossless DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 (48Khz/24-bit) soundtrack.
You'll be pleased to know that for all the visual intensity of this movie, the audio has not been forgotten about. In fact, it hasn't been left behind but actually excels ahead of the video.
The lossless soundtrack provides superb clarity and precision in what is pretty much a full on experience. Every channel is rinsed for all it's worth and very rarely does a moment go by without the rears not being engaged.
Firstly, this fills the whole soundstage with a constantly expansive and immersive sound field. Secondly, the precision and detail on offer is second to none and the ambience created has you absolutely riveted to your seat.
It's very easy when you go all 'gun ho' on a soundtrack that the whole thing descends into an overpowering mess of a mix. Thankfully this is never the case here as the sound engineers have firmly stuck to good production values and it pays off handsomely well. From the car chases and hand to hand fighting to the gun shots and the bullets flying all around, it's safe to say that even the most diminutive of sounds is placed with surgical precision.
The beauty of the higher resolution ensures that you can effortlessly pick out anything coming at you from any direction. Even when you are being bombarded with an overdose of sonic information you'll never feel bamboozled by it.
LFE and the extended bass will 'boom, boom and shake da room' at every given opportunity and this hard-hitting soundtrack will quite likely rattle every bone in your body to boot. This is an impressive soundtrack and its aggressive nature will whole heartedly appeal to all action fans alike.
Suffice to say that this film is elevated leaps and bounds by the aural experience on offer. You'll not want to miss out on this one.
Taken comes as a two-disc package. The first disc is a standard DVD that holds a digital version of the Theatrical version allowing you to port it over to your computer or mobile device. The second disc is the blu-ray itself which contains the feature film and all the extras.
Audio Commentary - There are two audio commentaries available on the disc. The first features Pierre Morel, Michel Abramowicz and Michel Julienne which is in spoken French. It's a strange experience watching the movie with the group of guys talking in French and the subtitles over writing the movie with their spoken content. The second commentary is by writer Robert Mark Kamen. To be honest both commentaries come across as rather dry. If I had a preference then it would have to be the Kamen version simply because I could understand and engage with it rather more easily.
Black Ops Field Manual - This extra is only available to select via the Unrated version of the film. You'll get various pop up boxes appear throughout the movie flashing with informative facts and interesting comments.
Le making of - (18min 24secs) - This is a bog standard 'making of' extra that's been bundled onto the disc. The cast, crew and all the usual suspects you would expect pop up to talk about the film and narrate over some of the movies backdrops and behind the scenes action. It's presented in High Definition, so that's a plus.
Avant Premiere - (4mins 48ecs) - This is also presented in High Definiton and features an eclectic mix of short snippets and comments from the cast and crew.
Inside action: side by side Comparison - (5mins 36secs) - Six action scenes are taken from the movie and presented side by side as storyboards with a comparison with what the final scenes ended up looking like.
Trailers - The usual fluff about upcoming movies.
Make no bones about it 'Taken' is a hard-hitting thriller that simmers it's way through the heat of some serious vigilante action to an unsuspecting boiling point. It's about an enraged man who goes in search of his abducted daughter in the only way that he knows how.
Kill or be killed is the motto of the day and this guy is not going to let anything or anyone stand in his way as he sets about dishing out his own variety of justice. Liam Neeson has done exceptionally well here and delivered the goods. I initially thought that he may have ventured a little too far out of his comfort zone with this one but thankfully this is not the case. It's a gritty, engaging and well paced film that will probably leave you wanting for more.
The blu-ray disc is a great effort and you'll get two variants of the film on it albeit the only difference between them being two additional minutes. The video qualities are very good and the audio is approaching exceptional. Technically this package makes all the right noises to demand a purchase although the extras are left a little wanting.
The only caveat with Taken is that perhaps some of you may not like a thriller of a movie that tends to become overshadowed by some of the violence on offer. Where it could have been made tauter there is a tendency to replace that with lurid violence. Aside from that there is really little to not whole heartedly recommend it.
Invariably there will probably be a sequel somewhere along the line but in the meantime this one is bound to get plenty of re-runs which makes it well and truly a 'buy'.
Suggested retail price when reviewed: £24.79
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