Taken, Pierre Morel (2008)

I knew it! I knew it! I watched fifteen minutes of this and knew Luc Besson had to be behind it. One brooding, incredibly kick-ass super-spy assassin dude. One ingenuous giggling Lolita. Squads upon squads of horrible hairy criminals lining up to be stabbed, garroted, etc. Emasculated French bureaucrats. It’s got to be Luc Besson! And sure enough, there he is, with top writing credit. I’ve written before about how relentlessly creepy this dude is. This one had me positively giggling at how much of his twisted slip is showing. Ex-CIA strongman’s impossibly girlish (the girl wears clothes in toddler-bright patterns, and literally skips instead of walking) 17 year old daughter goes to Paris, where she is immediately abducted by swarthy Albanian human traffickers. Of course–happens all the time, right? The very next day, the girl’s friend and traveling companion has already been hooked on heroin and chained to a whorehouse mattress, but because she is a virgin–Besson has taken care to let us know that the friend has already been deflowered, while daddy’s girl remains pure as snow–our girl is sold at an auction (which appears to take place in the same mansion where the masked ball is held in Eyes Wide Shut) to a–c’mon, you can guess this–hook-nosed Arab sheik who enjoys raping virgins on his yacht. Do you think daddy will arrive in time to save his milky-skinned baby girl from the sheik’s warty scimitar?

It strikes me this is kind of a Daisy Miller story.

It would be fun, and not terribly time-consuming, to make a list of the identities available to females in Besson’s universe. There are pure innocent virgin children like this one; fallen wild whore children like la Femme Nikita; stupid middle aged cow mothers who, once they have borne their beautiful daughters, are good for nothing but vapidly following after the most powerful man they can find; and knowing world-weary sages of a certain age. I think that’s about it. Of course, that’s a few more roles than are available to men; about them Besson is very strict: you are either a killer or killed.

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