I declared last month in my Lifetime movie review directory that there could be an entire genre devoted to bitches getting stuff done, whether those bitches be cops or lawyers or crime-fighting psychologists. I’ve now found the quintessential example of the genre, and it’s Taken: The Search For Sophie Parker. Even though the title uses the classic “colon and a person’s name” technique to distract us, the similarity to the Liam Neeson movie Taken was not lost on me. I haven’t seen Taken, but I’m pretty sure this movie operates under the same “young girl captured by sex traffickers in a foreign country and saved by her parent” concept, only instead of France it’s Russia and instead of Liam Neeson it’s two badass ladies with long hair and leather jackets. LONG-HAIRED BITCHES GET STUFF DONE.
The movie was “inspired by true events,” but I’m going to assume that just means something like this happened at one time or another, because everything’s a little (okay, a lot) too convenient. Let’s take a closer look, shall we? We’re introduced to our main long-haired lady Stevie Parker as she cooks breakfast. And look who it is! It’s Julie Benz! Rita Morgan has returned as a badass NYPD detective! My dreams are coming true. Her onscreen daughter’s dreams are coming true as well, because if I ever got abducted in a foreign country I sure as hell would want my mom to be a cop who looked like Julie Benz. Convenient thing #1.
Stevie’s 18-year-old (not 17?!) daughter Sophie (Naomi Battrick, who looks eerily like Alexandra Holden) is leaving for Spring Break in Moscow with her BFF Janie (Jenna Dallender), and Stevie is naturally feeling a bit unsure about it. Later, over drinks with her partner and occasional lovah Devlin (Jeffrey Meek), Stevie has a realization that would have been more helpful a while ago: “What was I thinking sending my teenage daughter on Spring Break in Moscow?” Ooh I know the answer! You weren’t thinking at all. Oops, silly me, I mean what is you weren’t thinking at all?
Meanwhile in Moscow, Sophie and Janie are met at the airport by Janie’s father, who happens to be the American ambassador to Russia. Convenient thing #2. He introduces them to Nadia (Amy Bailey), their chaperone who happens to be a CIA agent. Convenient thing #3. I’m telling you, when these girls get kidnapped it’s under the most ideal circumstances imaginable.
But I’m getting ahead of myself. The girls haven’t even been taken yet. First they have to flirt with an Orlando Bloom type while site-seeing. His name is Bobby, and on the night Nadia the chaperone has off he invites them to come to a club called Play House, which turns out to not be as fun as it sounds. Mostly because Janie gets drugged and the two of them are abducted. But not before Sophie dials her mom’s number, leaves her phone on the ground and proceeds to go ninja on her assailants. She doesn’t get much screen time, but it must be mentioned that Sophie is also a bitch who gets stuff done. Well, almost done. She and Janie do get taken, but she’s a baby bitch so I’ll give her a pass.
As soon as Stevie gets this phone call she goes into ass-kicker mode, as if she half expected this to happen anyway. She gets a flight out to Moscow and calls Janie’s dumbass of a dad, who still thinks the girls are asleep in their room. First rule of Lifetime teenagers: when you think they’re just asleep in their room, they’re not. Educate yourself, Mr. Ambassador. When Stevie arrives in Moscow she and the ambassador meet with the chief of police, who smokes like an apathetic chimney and informs them that their daughters have probably been taken for sexual reasons. “Our daughters didn’t come here for sex!” declares Mr. Ambassador, who is somehow unaware that sex trafficking is a problem here. He continues to pretty much spend the rest of the movie being completely useless and complaining about how inconvenient this is for his career. Ugh, Lifetime moms have to do all the work.
In this case that works out really well, because holy cannoli is Stevie a badass. And when she pairs up with super-spy Nadia, it gets even better. The only thing missing from this movie was a shot of Stevie and Nadia walking away from an exploding car in slow motion while putting sunglasses on. I’m telling you, this turned into such an action-packed saga of long-haired badassery that I didn’t even care about how unrealistic it all was. Sure, they get a hacker to zoom in CSI-style on the park’s surveillance camera to get a lead on where the girls are, but Nadia coolly knocks on the hacker’s door to bribe him with vodka and that’s all that matters. And yes, Stevie cuts the line at the nightclub no problem, but she wears her hair in a sleek ponytail and whispers in the doorman’s ear so it’s whatever.
The only thing I wasn’t so thrilled with was the scene where Stevie and Nadia talk about their love lives. That’s nice that Nadia is in love with a guy in the military who lives far away and Stevie can’t open herself up to Devlin because her husband died, but I’d just like to see them do roundhouse kicks and confidently throw evidence across the police chief’s desk, please and thank you.
Luckily the movie quickly gives us a rooftop chase during which Russian police officer Mikhail shoots Bobby before he can give them vital information about the girls’ whereabouts. Hmm, how suspicious of him. It doesn’t help that immediately afterwards he just smokes a cigarette nonchalantly and says it’s all Stevie’s fault. They find Janie hidden in the wall of Bobby’s apartment but unfortunately Sophie’s still gone. And since her name’s in the title they can’t just give up the search.
This is where stuff gets super duper badass. The police tell Stevie she has to go back to the U.S., and as they’re taking her away Nadia crashes into the car and shoots the tires so that she and Stevie can get away. Turns out trigger-happy Mikhail is actually involved with the mafia. After spying on him on him with a telescope from a rooftop in true badass fashion, they take him to the middle of nowhere at gunpoint to get a confession from him. When he finally reveals that Sophie will soon be shipped away from a hotel, Stevie lights his cigarette and leaves him there with a gun to do some soul-searching. GIT ‘ER DONE.
The ladies then beat up the guys guarding the transport car in the hotel parking lot and shoot at the mafia guys, led by Mr. Red (Velislav Pavlov). They manage to get Sophie to the U.S. Embassy just in time. Mr. Red suggests they get out of his country, and Stevie snaps back, “You get out of my country.” Cut to Red’s shoe sticking over the line into U.S. territory. He promptly spits on the ground. Was it ridiculous? Yes. Did I eat it up? Absolutely.
Afterward, Mikhail shoots himself to death in the car because this movie does not fuck around, and Nadia decides to go back to the United States. Stevie and Sophie head home so Stevie can get it on again with her partner, and Sophie now has her own leather jacket so she can be badass too. Do I smell a sequel? Please? I enjoyed this movie more than a normal human should.