Liam Neeson plays an American spy-assassin whose daughter is kidnapped. Never the bleeding-heart liberal, he starts his own war to get her back. He tells the kidnappers merely this: I don’t know who you are, but if you don’t let my daughter go, I will find you & kill you.
The daughter is an upper-middle class girl who loves the fun life. Her adoptive father throws her lavish parties & gives her a pony. Her mother is somewhat more moderate. They live with every privilege afforded to wealth in America. But the man cannot live this life. America does not know his mind.
The girl wants to go vacationing in Paris with a girl she knows; on the internet, they would call each other friend. Her family approves, careless of the girl’s lies; the man is against it, but his fatherly fear is overcome by shame. The girl is kidnapped. Only the man may be blamed, for he alone knew the danger. But he cannot make tough choices either, for Americans love pleasure & hate those whose prudence talks of war. Faced with danger, the family grows hysterical. The poet generously averts our eyes from this spectacle of defenselessness.
The man sets about finding her. He flies to Paris; retraces her steps; meets his Cold War contacts; finds a trail & follows it; & then, given the urgency of a dangerous situation, he starts killing people. This man’s ruthlessness & his un-Christian manliness astound. He shows that love of family is served by hatred of strangers. This is the price we pay for justice & safety. I do not suppose young girls of means fear such dangers; or that women who love comfort will think again. But men thus come to know their souls.
This man was a nobody in America. His wife divorced him, because he was not a good husband. Most soldiers probably are not, if you think about it; perhaps military wives are made of stronger stuff… His girl loved him, as daughters do, but she could not understand his great love because she did not know his great virtues. Perhaps her mother knew no better. But a man’s military might will only be gentled by love of family.
It is strange to contemplate that this man is not a hero, but a kind of alien. He is not honored by his country for his great services in her cause. He drinks anonymously. Therefore, his spiritedness serves popular pleasures. His reward is working as a bodyguard for a pop star. That girl appreciates a man who saves her life & offers to help his daughter sing. This offers both pleasure & distinction, which American girls desire overmuch.
A must see for fans of the action-thriller.