Here are some lessons that I learned while watching Taken, a film starring Liam Neeson and taking place mostly in Paris, a city I had intended to spend quite a bit of time in before I watched this movie. I still intend to spend time in Paris, but now I fear it will be the last bit of time I have.
1. Paris is a death trap: The City of Red Lights is filled with attractive young Europeans who would not think twice about kidnapping you and selling you off to some rich sheik as an addition to his harem. Or as slave laborers on some fishing boat in Southeast Asia. As they say, when in Rome, do as the Romans do. When in Paris, don’t talk to strangers unless you’re trying to bargain for souvenirs, and if hot men start hitting on you at the airport, that means they want you. Preferably in a car trunk while they’re awaiting some sizable transfer to their Swiss bank accounts.
2. Do not rely on your fun-loving blond girl pal in foreign countries: Not to sound stereotypical, but according to the movie, if you put any trust in your blond friend, they will get kidnapped. Oh, and you will get kidnapped along with them. So if your friend, who happens to have flaxen hair, decides to take you along for a trip to a foreign country, make it somewhere safe, like Canada. Actually, you might get mauled by grizzly bears or drown in maple syrup or something, so forget Canada. Take some precautionary measures instead, like a Lonely Planet guide and a taser. And Kevlar.
3. Overprotective parents can be useful: Especially if they’re the ex-CIA sort of people. Actually, only if they’re the ex-CIA sort of people. If they aren’t, then they’ll just be really unhappy and weepy when you get kidnapped. But if you are lucky enough to have a parent who knows exactly what you are up to 24/7 thanks to years of watching people 24/7 in countries all over the world, you won’t think that your parent is creepy once those Albanian human traffickers kidnap you and your only hope is that your dad will appear and take them down like he took down that Third World dictator.
4. Human trafficking is terrifying: Kidnapping and drugging up girls so that they become addicted and then selling them off as prostitutes, it’s an awful job. And apparently it’s pretty popular in certain areas of Paris. Why is Paris so terrifying?
5. I can finally tell the difference between French and other foreign languages: Unlike the time I watched a Senegalese film and felt pretty stupid for being unable to understand any of the French spoken for the first hour or so, only to realize that they were actually speaking Wolof, this time I was able to immediately pick up on when people were speaking in French, Albanian, or English. Except I couldn’t really figure out what sort of accent Liam Neeson was speaking in. Irish, perhaps?
6. Karaoke machine < Pony: I think it’s pretty self-explanatory.
It’s a great film, but it made me as excited to go to Paris as Cloverfield made me feel safe about living in Manhattan. Oh god, what stupid idea possessed me to go to Paris where all the Albanian slave traders are?