Taken 3 has a tag line of “It Ends Here”. If that’s true, we can all breathe a great sigh of relief. I mean, hey, I LOVE this direction Liam Neeson has chosen for himself the past number of years. He reinvented himself as an action film tough guy. And he’s great at it. And I’ve enjoyed all of his endeavors in this genre – except the Taken sequels. Ok, Taken 2 was ok, but only just. And here we are with Taken 3, maybe only slightly better, if at all, but who can really tell?
Hardly need a synopsis here, but suffice to say, Neeson returns as Ex-government operative Bryan Mills, and now someone has killed his ex-wife and pinned it all on Mills. So he gets back to using his “particular set of skills”, to find out who committed the crime and framed him for it. All the while, practically every law enforcement agency on the planet is hunting him.
Neeson is solid reprising his role, and we have Maggie Grace returning as Mills daughter, and of course Famke Janssen returns, albeit briefly, as Mills ex-wife Lenore. Dougray Scott appears as Lenore’s current husband, Stuart, who’s kind of a dick. The ever more strange-looking Forest Whitaker is Frank Dotzler, FBI agent in charge of finding Bryan Mills, though he seems to be doubting Mills’ guilt as the hunt goes on. But hey, he’s gotta bring him in either way, right? What does Mills say to that? “Good luck.”
All the usual type of fight scenes and chases are here, possibly lifted right out of Taken 2 for all I know, I can’t really remember all that much of this third installment – or the second. And that should tell you much of what you need to know here. It was mildly entertaining at the time, but a day after seeing Taken 3, I couldn’t have really told you that much about why I was entertained at the time.
I feel like the antagonist was pretty obvious, though they tried to throw you off the scent a bit with one or two other characters with bad associations. But whatever, Taken 3 seems really only to exist to flesh it all out to a trilogy just for the sake of making it a trilogy. You know, it’s ok to just make ONE sequel, especially if that sequel was significantly inferior. You don’t have to bludgeon us over the head with a third one just to “complete the set”.
And to director Oliver Megaton I say, please rethink how you shoot action sequences! For fuck sake, man, hold the camera still just for a second! I barely have any idea who was hitting who, who was chasing who where, or even if they just spliced in action sequences from some other film. Yikes. I though this sort of camera work was past us, but apparently not.
Taken 3 was written, in part, by Luc Besson, who once lent some quality and weight to a film. Perhaps he and the other writer, Robert Mark Kamen just got tired and phoned it in for this. I see that Kamen is writing Transporter 5 AND 6 (WHAT) for what that’s worth. Something about a reboot? What’s to reboot? How vexing.
It’s also interesting to note that Kamen wrote the original Karate Kid movies. The original ones. I’ll let you ponder that for a spell.
Whatever the case may be, I wanted to like this more than I did, but Taken 3 is only moderately entertaining while you’re watching it. You’ll likely forget most of what you saw not long after so I can only recommend this for cable or if you’re on a plane. Barely squeaking by with three kittenhands, and that’s being generous. Liam Neeson is definitely better than this sequel.
~ Neil T. Weakley, your average movie-goer, definitely recommending A Walk Among The Tombstones over this one, for sure. And go back and watch The Grey, too, if you haven’t yet.