Taken (2008) stars Liam Neeson as Bryan Mills, the ultimate badass. He is retired from some government job that he only refers to as being a "preventer". He's basically a clean James Bond combined with Maximus. This guy is an expert at slaughtering bad people. His daughter goes to Paris with her idiot friend who gets killed because she doesn't see the danger of inviting some random guy she met for three seconds at the airport over to have consequence free sex. The daughter gets captured by Albanians who run a sex trafficking operation (It is easier for them to work in Paris than in Albania for some reason the movie does explicitly mention, but I forget what it is). Bryan (Liam Neeson) then gets the bad guy on the phone and delivers the greatest whole paragraph ever:
"I don't know who you are. I don't know what you want. If you are looking for ransom, I can tell you I don't have money. But what I do have are a very particular set of skills, skills I have acquired over a very long career. Skills that make me a nightmare for people like you. If you let my daughter go now, that'll be the end of it. I will not look for you, I will not pursue you. But if you don't, I will look for you, I will find you, and I will kill you. "
The villain, who is also an idiot, snarkly says "good luck" and hangs up.
Bryan knows this weaselly little guy who works behind a desk under another guy we never see who works behind a bigger desk who is somebody within the French government. He gets Bryan to Paris because he only has a couple days to rescue his daughter. When he gets there he kills a few really bad people and destroys a trailer and the desk jockey tells him to leave. Bryan instead tricks him and disappears.
He steals the ID of a French inspector and breaks into the hideout of the Albanians, who are idiots and do not question why a French inspector is speaking English with an Irish accent. There he meets the guy on the phone and says "I told you I would find you." He then kills everyone in the hideout except the telephone guy, who he brings to this rundown building. There he slams two railroad spikes into the guy's thighs and hooks him up to electrical wires. And asks where his daughter is. The guy does not answer so Bryan electrocutes him. He asks again and the guy again refuses to answer, because, as I've already said twice, this is one stupid criminal. Bryan electrocutes him again and then he gets fed up. He tells the thug "You either give me what I need or this switch will stay on until they turn the power off for lack of payment on the bill." The guy answers. He tells him that he sold his daughter to a man named Saint-Clair. Bryan knows he is telling the truth. He says "I believe you. But that won't save you," and then he turns the power on and leaves the room, letting the guy fry, and it's like a full body orgasm. There is human garbage in the world who really do this kind of thing and they deserve not only to die but to suffer, and this movie satisfies that need in me, but I'll say more about that later.
Bryan goes back to the desk jockey who stonewalls him until he shoots his wife (she lives) and then the desk jockey does what is right instead of what is legal and reveals where Saint-Clair lives.
Saint-Clair turns out to be an American who sells young women in this Eyes Wide Shut place. His goons catch Bryan during a party and Bryan kills them all, noisily. Saint-Clair asks a waiter or someone to check out what all the noise is and the second he opens the door he gets shot in the face and dies. Bryan then shoots Saint-Clair in an elevator and demands to know where his daughter is. Saint-Clair tells him she is on the boat of this billionaire sheik that is leaving in a few minutes. Lying in a pool of blood he pleads with Bryan, saying "Please understand... it was all business. It wasn't personal." To which Bryan replies "It was all personal to me," and then empties the gun into this fucker's face.
Bryan speeds along the riverside in a stolen car and then jumps off a bridge onto the boat. He kills a bunch of people on the boat and then breaks into the room of the sheik. The sheik has his daughter. He's got a knife to her throat. The sheik thinks he's going to get out of this, he thinks he's seen enough movies to know how this works. He thinks this is the real world. He is mistaken. He tries to tell Bryan "We can negoti-" and gets shot in the face mid-sentence in the best scene ever ever. This scene is like fifty times better than when that son of a bitch got electrocuted. If real life were a movie now would be the time to smoke, but life is not a movie and smoking is a filthy habit, so I just have to come down naturally.
If you have not figured it out yet, this is the best movie ever, and the reason is very simple: this movie is the exact opposite of real life. This is the way life should be. In the real world bad people get away with doing bad things all the time. The law protects bad people, who have "rights", whereas good people get beaten in the face with a telescoping baton. Little kids get tickets for running an illegal lemonade stand while Saudi princes can run prostitution rings in the US for decades and nothing happens to them. People can get arrested for collecting rain water because the government wants you to pay the legal water monopoly for something that should be free while windmill companies can kill tens of thousands of endangered birds every year. Someone who smokes a joint gets beaten in the face and thrown in jail for 20 years while child rapists get out in only 5. That's how real life works.
Movies don't have to be like real life. In a movie good wins over evil, right wins over wrong. In a movie the ultimate badass can say "fuck their rights" and kill villains who deserve to die. A movie hero can say "fuck corrupt laws that protect bad people" and do what is right instead of what is legal and can save the innocent and kill complete monsters. And the hero of Taken does this while rubbing it in the face of the authority figure. He berates the desk jockey for caring about what is legal instead of what is right, and he is totally vindicated in the end and triumphs over evil. In movies the heroes have power and skills and weapons and the villains are weak and stupid. No movie exemplifies this more than Taken, and that is why it is the greatest movie ever. It satisfies the deep abiding need of knowing that right will win against wrong and seeing bad people suffer and good people get rewarded. Taken satisfies the need for the world to make sense and for order and justice to prevail. It is medicine for the soul.