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Taken

TAKEN

The Abridged Script

FADE IN:

INT. DEPRESSING BACHELOR PAD

LIAM NEESON is hanging out with his old spec ops buddies, two of whom are the LEAST BADASS-LOOKING DUDES ON THE PLANET.

LELAND ORSER

(geekily)

So, Liam, how do you feel about coming out of retirement for one... last... job?

JON GRIES

(dorkily)

All we have to do is get this pop diva to and from her concert. WHAT COULD POSSIBLY GO WRONG?

LIAM NEESON

What? Guys, why are you setting up a completely different movie?

LELAND ORSER

Wait, this isn't the gritty reboot of The Bodyguard? Our bad! Oh well, at least we can do this pop diva thing as an appetizer. Really show off your skills!

EXT. CONCERT

Liam FIGHTS A KNIFE-WIELDING THUG for approximately three-eights of a second.

HOLLY VALANCE

Wow, you guarded my body! I'm so super impressed that you're competent at your job!

LIAM NEESON

I'm relieved you're actually HAPPY with your security team after they let a knife-wielding maniac get backstage.

HOLLY VALANCE

As a show of gratitude, allow me to help your daughter become a famous singer.

LIAM NEESON

Help her on the career path that nearly got you murdered just now? Great! It's not like the very next scene is going to establish that I'm an insanely over-protective father or anything.

EXT. CAFE

LIAM is meeting his daughter MAGGIE GRACE and his ex-wife FAMKE JANSSEN. Hey, remember FAMKE JANSSEN?

MAGGIE GRACE

Daddy, I want to go to Paris with my friend Katie, but I need your permission.

LIAM NEESON

Paris? Are you out of your fucking mind?! I've been to all kinds of war zones and crime-ridden terrorist dens, and this is exactly the same! As soon as you set foot in a foreign country you'll be eaten by rapists!

FAMKE JANSSEN

For fuck's sake, Liam, she's going to a high-scale neighbourhood in one of the most affluent, tourist friendly cities in the world. Do you really think this movie will be so horribly xenophobic as to have your insane paranoiac fantasies come true?

LIAM NEESON

I guess not. All right, she can go.

EXT. PARIS

The millisecond MAGGIE and KATIE leave the airport they are pounced upon by PROFESSIONAL ABDUCTOR MAN NICOLAS GIRAUD.

MAGGIE GRACE

Hey, look, the first foreigner we meet. He seems friendly and normal, we should treat him without suspicion.

NICOLAS GIRAUD

Bwa ha ha, that's your first mistake! I mean, uh, want to share a cab, showing me where you're staying and telling me all the pertinent details about yourself on the way there?

KATIE CASSIDY

Sure thing! We both have wealthy families who would miss us, both in the powerful USA and right here in Paris. We're pretty much the worst possible targets for abduction you could hope to find.

NICOLAS GIRAUD

Yyyyes... but the guys really wanted to break in their new kidnapping masks, so fuck it. Want to come to a party tonight?

KATIE CASSIDY

Sure thing! And since we've already agreed to get into a car with you at a set time this evening, it would be needlessly complicated for you to have us snatched from our home.

NICOLAS GIRAUD

...They're really nice kidnapping masks, is the thing.

Later, while MAGGIE is on the phone with LIAM, people come and grab KATIE!

MAGGIE GRACE

MY GOD, THEY GOT KATIE! Which I can see through the window, across the way, even though I'm in the same apartment. What kind of fucked-up U-shaped building is this?

LIAM NEESON

Focus, Maggie! You need to get off the phone with me and call the police. In a rich neighbourhood like that, the response time should be excellent.

(pause)

Wait, even better, stay on the phone with me and shout out vague physical descriptors of your attackers! That'll be useful!

MAGGIE hides under the bed while the attackers come into the room.

ARBEN BAJRAKTARAJ

So, feel like stopping in this random room to chat where Liam can hear us?

KIDNAPPER #2

Sure thing, Arben, as long as we take time to mention you by name, ARBEN.

They grab MAGGIE!

MAGGIE GRACE

SIX FEET ARGLE BARGLE UNINTELLIGIBLE

(cut off)

LIAM NEESON

Hey, Arben! I don't have ransom money, but - oh wait, I guess her mother does. Heaps of it. Maybe I should mention that? Ah, screw it, I'm gonna kill you all!

INT. FAMKE'S HOUSE

LIAM NEESON

Hey, Famke's new husband, you're rich and connected. There's something I need you to do.

XANDER BERKLEY

Anything to get Maggie back! What do you need?

LIAM NEESON

Get me on a plane to Paris.

XANDER BERKLEY

...Uh huh, and?

LIAM NEESON

That's it. That's all I figure your wealth and contacts are good for.

XANDER BERKLEY

Well, should we at least call the cops?

LIAM NEESON

What? Look, just sit here and twiddle your thumbs while I go and punch people until this problem goes away, all right?

XANDER BERKLEY

Maybe we should let Katie's parents know that--

LIAM NEESON

SHUT UP AND LET'S GET TO THE PUNCHING ALREADY.

INT. KIDNAP APARTMENT

LIAM inspects the apartment, collecting hair samples which will prove completely irrelevant. He finds MAGGIE'S PHONE, and goes and retrieves the photos of the SD card at some kind of public digital thingamajig.

LIAM NEESON

Hey look, you can see Nicolas's blurry reflection in one photo. If only this thing could do that bullshit crime-lab "enhance" thing from TV - oh look, it totally can!

He goes and finds NICOLAS at the airport.

LIAM NEESON

Right, now to use all my covert ops skills to tail him and see where he goes and who he talks to. Or, THIS:

He BEATS NICOLAS UP and SCREAMS AT HIM in PUBLIC. NICOLAS runs away and gets HIT BY A TRUCK.

LIAM NEESON

Fuck! And all I'd get if I checked out his body would be his identification, and the contacts in his phone. Useless!

(leaves)

EXT. IN FRONT OF THE ARC DE TRIOMPHE (AT LEAST IT'S NOT THE EIFFEL TOWER)

LIAM meets with his old buddy OLIVIER RABOURDIN.

OLIVIER RABOURDIN

Looking for Albanian gangsters, eh? Well, here's where you'd find some.

LIAM NEESON

Thanks! You know, it's a good thing you're not on the Albanian's payroll or anything. Otherwise you would have just given me the runaround, instead of giving me perfectly valid info I can now use to really fuck up their shit. I mean, unless you were a total idiot or something, ha ha ha!

OLIVIER RABOURDIN

Ha ha... yes... excuse me, I have to make some calls.

EXT. RED LIGHT DISTRICT

LIAM plants a bug on the FIRST ALBANIAN PIMP HE FINDS.

TRANSLATOR

Okay, so he's talking about his crime gang's activities-

LIAM NEESON

What, the instant I bug him he starts giving up the goods? That seems implausible.

TRANSLATOR

Er, okay, so he's chatting about food for one second, now sports, NOW he's talking about his crimes.

LIAM NEESON

Much more believable.

TRANSLATOR

He says there's a problem with new merchandise down at the construction site.

LIAM NEESON

While that could mean anything, I'm going to assume that's Maggie and Katie, even though later it's shown that neither one of them were ever there so I'm totally wrong. Goodbye!

He KICKS THE TRANSLATOR OUT rather than see if he can get ANY MORE INFORMATION from the pimp, then heads over to the CONSTRUCTION SITE.

EXT. CONSTRUCTION SITE

LIAM finds himself at a CONSTRUCTION SITE-SLASH-BROTHEL, just like the ones that exist.

LIAM NEESON

So, how to proceed? Maybe I should wait until things quiet down before I act, or even get the authorities involved now that I'm witnessing blatant criminal activity; if I'm cautious, I could save dozens of girls tonight. Or, THIS:

He CHARGES IN, BEATS PEOPLE UP, and escapes with EXACTLY ONE GIRL.

GIRL

Thank you Liam! But your daughter is in another crime den!

LIAM NEESON

Oh well, onto the next group of punching bags.

GIRL

What happens to me, though?

LIAM NEESON

To who?

(leaves)

INT. CRIME HEADQUARTERS

LIAM NEESON

Hello, gangsters. You've never seen or heard of me before, but I am your new corrupt police contact. Your bribes are now twenty percent higher than whatever they were before.

ARBEN BAJRAKTARAJ

This sounds legit enough for us to just hand over all our cash.

LIAM NEESON

Hey, hearing your voice, I recognise that you're Arben from the phone call before!

The film compares ARBEN'S VOICE to ARBEN'S VOICE FROM EARLIER to show that they sound ALMOST NOTHING ALIKE.

LIAM NEESON

...Wow, seriously? How do we fuck that up? Oh well, for the purposes of the story I recognise you anyway!

He folds up the skeletons of everyone but Arben, who he ties up and attaches electrodes to.

ARBEN BAJRAKTARAJ

Do your worst, I will never talk!

(is electrocuted)

Pshaw, is that the best you got?

(is electrocuted)

OH GOD NO MORE PLEASE GOD NOOOO! I sold Maggie to a guy called Gerard Watkins! That's all I know!

LIAM NEESON

I believe you. To the point that I won't even ask things like what he looks like or how he contacted you. Now, enjoy your excruciating death!

He LEAVES ARBEN WITH THE ELECTRODES TURNED ON.

ARBEN BAJRAKTARAJ

Wait, you're torturing me to death out of spite?! You're a sociopath!

LIAM NEESON

Oh, totally. See, I should have mentioned, this isn't just an action movie, it's also a Gritty Portrait of a Dangerous Man Pushed to the Edge.

ARBEN BAJRAKTARAJ

(smoke coming out of ears)

I see, so people can pretend they're here to ponder man's darker nature, not just to see you snap a bunch of bad guy's necks.

LIAM NEESON

Exactly! Just like most of Charles Bronson's movies!

ARBEN BAJRAKTARAJ

Or what Jason Statham does with "tongue-in-cheek", I get it.

(head catches fire)

INT. OLIVIER'S HOUSE

LIAM confronts OLIVIER and his WIFE at dinner.

LIAM NEESON

So I found out there are corrupt cops on your force. Are you one of them?

OLIVIER RABOURDIN

Yeah, sorry.

(pause)

Wait, I could have denied that, couldn't I? Well, fuck. Instead I'll pull a gun on you, expecting a single gun to make you get scared and go home, because apparently I haven't paid attention to anything you've ever done ever.

LIAM NEESON

Nice try, but I already found your gun and took the bullets! By the way, you keep your gun in your bathroom closet? How do your children still have faces?

He SHOOTS OLIVIER'S WIFE IN THE ARM.

OLIVIER RABOURDIN

What the fuck?!

LIAM NEESON

Sorry, but you know, Gritty Portrait and everything.

OLIVIER gives him GERARD'S ADDRESS. LIAM goes there to find that MAGGIE is being AUCTIONED OFF IN THE BASEMENT at that exact moment.

LIAM NEESON

Phew, good thing I didn't get here twenty minutes later! Or earlier, for that matter. This is pretty much the most convenient coincidence I could have asked for.

Suddenly LIAM, the world's most unstoppable badass, gets JUMPED AND CAPTURED LIKE A SCHMUCK.

GERARD WATKINS

Who are you and what do you want?

LIAM NEESON

Seriously? How has word of my all-consuming killing spree not gotten around yet? Give me my daughter!

GERARD WATKINS

Sorry, but I can't go back on my deal with the buyer.

LIAM NEESON

You mean the guy who only bought Maggie because I forced him to at gunpoint? Yeah, I'm sure he'll be glad you're not going back on the half-million-dollar purchase he never wanted to make.

LIAM ESCAPES in a way that's due less to his AWESOME SKILLS than to GERARD'S CRAPPY PIPES.

GERARD WATKINS

All right, I give! There's a boat by the quay!

LIAM NEESON

Yes, I'd imagine there would be.

He SHOOTS GERARD and leaves by the super-secret other entrance we never see.

GERARD WATKINS

Um, I also know the name of the boat? And the buyer? Are you allergic to information or something?

(dies)

EXT. QUAY

The boat departs, and LIAM speeds alongside it in his car!

LIAM NEESON

Maybe if I go as fast as possible into oncoming traffic, people won't notice that I'm chasing something that's going like thirty miles an hour in a straight line!

Eventually he gets onto the boat, and the crew ATTACK. He puts the spinal columns of half of them through the skulls of the other half, then proceeds to the final boss, who is HOLDING MAGGIE HOSTAGE.

LIAM NEESON

So we meet at last, random fat guy with no lines!

(kills him anticlimactically)

Yay, I win! Now everything is good again.

MAGGIE GRACE

Um, Daddy, I think I have post-traumatic stress disorder... and I might be addicted to heroin now.

LIAM NEESON

Everything. Is good. Again.

MAGGIE GRACE

But you shot a cop's wife, surely you're going to prison for-

LIAM NEESON

AND THEY ALL LIVE HAPPILY EVER AFTER.

LIAM NEESON is immediately sent five hundred scripts about GUYS WHO CAN DECAPITATE YOU WITH THEIR THUMBS.

END.