A series that is out of ideas. So Bryan Mills (Liam Neeson) is just trying to carry on with his life; he has destroyed half of Eastern Europe, and is likely ready for retirement… how much of this is acting, I’m not certain. Nobody’s going to let that happen, though, because (and I’m not spoiling anything, this is prominently featured in the trailer) he quickly gets framed for murdering his wife (Famke Janssen), so he has to clear his name as well as find out who is really behind everything as quickly as possible. This series has been a boulder rolling down a mountain. With the first movie, it was such an out-of-nowhere surprise, and being that it was such a raw, ramped up action film, people really responded to it. In a way, it spawned its own subgenre: the old guy action flick. Following that film, you have the Expendables trilogy (serious overkill), The Gunman and a number of other Liam Neeson movies like Run All Night and A Walk Among the Tombstones; there’s apparently a market out here for these movies, and by golly, Hollywood is going to try its hardest to oversaturate it. This type of affair is really what Neeson’s career has become, and by the time the second Taken rolled around, it was already starting to become tired. At that time, I said that they better have some improved ideas if they wanted this series to continue. Looks like they didn’t listen to me, because they’ve moved on with nothing cooking in the kitchen, and the bar has been lowered even closer to the floor.
Anybody want to take a bet that it doesn’t “end here”?
There’s a lot wrong with Taken 3, namely that this is a series that refuses to cover any new ground. Bryan Mills still hasn’t figured out how to buy a birthday gift for his daughter, and this was something that was addressed in the first 15 minutes of the first movie. Also comparing this to its predecessor, the first film was brutal, and featured fight scenes where you felt every gut punch and bone snap right in your core. For an action director, Olivier Megaton sure doesn’t know how to film action; there are quick cuts and psycho editing galore, so much so that you can never fully tell what is going on any given sequence. He has directed this, Taken 2 and Colombiana, and I’ve gotta say, I really don’t think that he’s got a promising career in his future. On top of all that, the writing featured here is as lazy as can be, and they write themselves into corners where there’s no possible way out. For example, and I don’t want to spoil anything, but if you decide to leave my advice unheeded and watch this film, watch for the scene that involves a car in an elevator shaft. I’m not exaggerating in that it is grounds to walk out of/turn off the film, as it really is that negligent in the writing department.
You can tell by all of Neeson’s public responses that he just wants this phase of his career to be over; before this got made, he went on record as saying that there shouldn’t have been a Taken 3, because if she gets taken again, it’s just bad parenting at this point.
This series really should have been a one off, as made completely evident by both of the subpar sequels. At this point, these characters aren’t interesting anymore, and they’ve exhausted their resources and ideas on where to take this. Neeson is just looking tired, and for somebody that played Oskar Schindler 22 years ago, he must feel like he is compromising his integrity here. It’s really starting to feel like an action soap opera, and I honestly don’t care where they take this next. I can’t even recommend this to an action junkie, because the only thing that Taken 3 is going to do for you is make the great first film depreciate in value.
Taken 3 (2014) *1/2
– Critic for Hire