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Tuesday May 21st 2024

Taken | 2008

Taken filming location: Avenue d’Eylau, Paris
Taken filming location: the empty apartment in which Kim stays in Paris: Avenue d’Eylau, Paris

Taken filming location: Fremont Place, Hancock Park, Los Angeles
Taken filming location: the lavish home of Bryan’s daughter and ex-wife: Fremont Place, Hancock Park, Los Angeles | Photograph: Woody / Houses of Hancock Park

Liam Neeson’s solid earnestness makes this relentless revenge thriller, co-written by Luc Besson, almost credible.

It kicks off in sunny Los Angeles where divorced dad Bryan Mills (Neeson) is trying to come up with a suitable birthday gift for his dearly loved daughter, Kim (Maggie Grace).

Taken filming location: Hollywood Boulevard, Hollywood
Taken filming location: Bryan Mills buys the karaoke machine: Hollywood Boulevard, Hollywood

The electronics store where he purchases the best available karaoke machine (you know, as used by pros like Beyoncé and Mariah Carey) was Hightech Electronics, which seems to have closed and stood at 6630 Hollywood Boulevard #B at Cherokee Avenue in Central Hollywood. It’s a popular stretch of the road – you can clearly see the venerable Musso and Frank's Grill on the other side of the street behind him. Opposite the store stands the now closed Geisha House (featured in Knocked Up) and around the corner on Cherokee is Boardner’s bar, seen in LA Confidential and Ed Wood.

His modest present gets a little upstaged by the gift of a horse from Kim’s wealthy new stepfather at her extravagant birthday bash. The mansion into which Bryan’s ex (Famke Janssen) has moved, is 56 Fremont Place at West 8th Street, in the Hancock Park neighborhood of Los Angeles. Although the estate is only yards from the famous Ebell of Los Angeles, it’s within the securely gated Fremont Place enclave, so chances are you won't be able to see it.

Apart from having appeared in countless TV shows, the same house was home to silent star Peppy Miller in Michel Hazanavicius’ 2011 Oscar winner The Artist, and was once the real-life home of the nation’s sweetheart Mary Pickford.

Bryan lives a much more modest life in the Valley, in an apartment building at 4660 Kester Avenue in Sherman Oaks. He travels a couple of miles east to get his party photos developed (remember the days when photographs had to be developed at chemist stores?) at Valley Stores, 11418 Moorpark Street at Kraft Avenue, in Studio City.

Taken filming location: Avenue d’Eylau, Paris
Taken filming location: Kim pleads with Bryan to be allowed to visit Paris: 33 Taps, Hollywood Boulevard, Hollywood

It’s back to Central Hollywood for the smart restaurant where Kim pleads with Bryan to be allowed to visit Paris to, erm, see the art galleries. This was Hollywood & Vine Diner, since rejigged as sports bar 33 Taps, 6253 Hollywood Boulevard, on the corner of the famous intersection, just along from Pantages Theatre.

Bryan sees off Kim and her pal Amanda (Katie Cassidy) at Los Angeles International Airport (LAX) and soon they’re arriving at Paris Charles de Gaulle International Airport, where they’re approached by a charming French boy called Peter, who offers to share a cab fare with them.

The vacant apartment in which Kim and Amanda are staying is 9 Avenue d’Eylau, in the 16th arrondissement, northwest of the Palais de Chaillot, Paris. This really should set alarm bells ringing for movie fans. Just along the road, at 35 Avenue d’Eylau, was the SPECTRE HQ in 1965 Bond movie Thunderball. This can’t be good. Or it could be that the street simply has a damned good view of the Eiffel Tower.

Inevitably, once outside the safety of the USA, in lawless Europe, Kim and Amanda are violently abducted but, as we know, Bryan has his own special set of skills. He will find the kidnappers and he will kill them.

Bryan wastes no time heading to Paris, where he’s able to use one of those fantastic photo-sharpening devices that can turn the fuzzy blob on a low-resolution image into a perfectly recognizable face (I really want one of those) to find the devious Peter at de Gaulle Airport. There’s a foot chase around the airport’s raised roadways which leads nowhere when the unfortunate Peter is splattered by a speeding truck.

Bryan meets up with Jean-Claude (Olivier Rabourdin), one of his old contacts from CIA days, on the Champs Elysées, in front of the legendary Fouquet’s, 99 Avenue des Champs-Elysées. Opened in 1899, the restaurant is famous for annually hosting celebrations for the prestigious César awards (the French equivalent of the Oscars).

Bryan hires a car from Car’go La Garenne, 5 Rue Léon Maurice Nordman at rue Jean Bonal, in La Garenne-Colombes, way to the northwest of the city.

He questions hookers hanging around Porte de Clichy, where he’s able to plant a bug on one of their pimps. Porte de Clichy is a Métro and RER station on the north-western branch of Line 13, beneath Avenue de Clichy.

It’s a small world – he’s stumbled across the right gang and is soon barnstorming his way through a makeshift brothel on a benighted building site when he recognises his daughter’s jacket.

Taken filming location: Hotel Camelia International, Rue Darcet, Paris
Taken filming location: Bryan hides out an detoxes the rescued woman: Hotel Camelia International, Rue Darcet, Paris | Photograph: Google Earth

Amid the chaos, he rescues the girl wearing the jacket and takes her to a hotel run by an old friend, where he’s able to clean the drugs from her system. The hotel is the tiny Hotel Camelia International, 3 Rue Darcet off Boulevard des Batignolles, west of the Place de Clichy in the 17th arrondissement.

Place de Clichy (not the same as Porte de Clichy, seen earlier) is the traditional heart of the rather seedy entertainment business with plenty of ‘girlie’ clubs and sex shops – and not far from the original Moulin Rouge.

With Bryan causing mayhem throughout the city, Jean-Claude sets up a meeting with him in the Square du Vert Galant, the little triangular park on the northwestern tip of the Ile de la Cité, west of Pont Neuf.

Bryan is being monitored from a van parked outside the entrance of the, since closed, Toupary Restaurant in the Samaritaine building on Quai du Louvre, at the northern end of the Pont Neuf. This seems to be a popular spot for clandestine rendezvous, which you might recognize from The Bourne Identity.

Taken filming location: Church of Saint Germain l’Auxerrois, Place du Louvre, Paris
Taken filming location: Bryan watches the raid on the restaurant: Church of Saint Germain l’Auxerrois, Place du Louvre

The cops quickly track Bryan’s mobile signal to l’Auxerrois, 13 Rue des Prêtres Saint-Germain l'Auxerrois, a restaurant in the little sidestreet west of the Samaritaine. It’s on the restaurant roof they find a pair of cellphones diverting the call.

Cunning old Bryan is keeping an eye on the whole operation from atop the Gothic tower of the Church of Saint Germain l’Auxerrois, 2 Place du Louvre, overlooking the restaurant and the park.

He finally tracks his daughter down to a grand mansion on the Ile Saint-Louis, the smaller isle in the River Seine to the east of Ile de la Cité, where she’s being auctioned off to the lackey of the inevitable lustful sheikh.

Taken filming location: Pont Neuf, Paris, France
Taken filming location: Bryan leaps from the bridge into the boat: Pont des Arts, Paris

After just a little more bloodshed, Bryan escapes from the mansion, at the eastern end of Rue Saint-Louis en l’Ile at Quai d’Anjou, and follows the car containing Kim onto the eastern stretch of the Pont de Sully.

He races after the car along Quai Henri IV along the north bank of the Seine, where it turns down to the quai itself and Kim is bundled onto a waiting boat.

Commandeering a set of wheels for himself, Bryan roars west along the north bank quays to the Pont des Arts, opposite the Louvre, which is where he makes a spectacular leap down onto the boat and despatches the last of the bad guys.

• Many thanks to Woody at Houses of Hancock Park, and to Lindsay Blake from IAmNotAStalker.com for help with this section.