Starring: Liam Neeson, Forest Whitaker, Maggie Grace
Genre: Action/ Thriller
Ex-covert operative Bryan Mills (Neeson) is enjoying a quiet life and a much more amicable relationship with his ex-wife Lenore (Famke Janssen), but her life is then taken and Bryan is framed for her brutal murder. Bryan must now use his particular set of skills to uncover the truth behind who is responsible for her murder, take revenge and protect his daughter (Grace) while having the CIA, FBI and the police on his trail (no one can accuse Neeson of not being able to multi task).
So here we go again; Neeson returns donning the leather jacket once more in the franchise that made him one of the most typecast actors going, all this despite quite clearly stating that “there will not be a Taken 3”. Well, money talks and despite the tagline of “it ends here”, I am sure that if Taken 3 makes enough money there will be a Taken 4. There is a general and rightful consensus that though it most definitely did not have the most original plot, Taken was a slick and highly enjoyable action film, but maybe that is because all involved (as writer and producer I attribute primary responsibility to Luc Besson) actually put some effort in. It was quite a surprise at just how successful Taken was and so, call me cynical if you like, it seems Besson and co had the idea that they can churn out sequels without putting any effort into them and they will make money. Depressingly, I am and they were right on both counts and Taken 2 was a hideous film that was painfully dull and boring from start to finish and a real insult to film fans everywhere. Well, now we have part three and though it does not achieve the impossible by being worse than Taken 2 it is still very dull and has no soul.
In the case of Taken 3 the only thing ‘taken’ is the life of his ex-wife (as well as two hours of your life – rather unnecessarily) and perhaps putting that in the trailer played a part in this, but when it happens there is just no emotional impact. In fact, from start to finish there is never any real involvement or sense of danger despite the fact that Taken 3 does have potentially a decent plot (well, by B movie standards).
The action sequences are just dull as they contain soft 12a rated violence and the fact it is Neeson and his character means we know that he is going to win every fight or evade capture no matter what the odds are (no that is not a spoiler!). Even for a 12a film the ‘action’ sequences are dull with the migraine inducing editing making sure we don’t see any blood or physical pain, or indeed the fact Neeson is getting on a bit and is quite slow.
From producers, to writers, to director, to the cast; everyone just appears to be going through the motions with Taken 3 in what is just simply a soulless cash-in of a film. The lack of effort in Luc Besson and Robert Mark Kamen’s script makes for a dull plot that takes more than its fair share of liberties that it comes nowhere near earning the right to take and provides no emotional interest or intensity (there are even attempts at humour which horrifically misfire) and laughable characters.
Forest Whitaker’s supposedly smart cop that constantly fiddles with a chess piece or elastic bands and believes that Mills is innocent at the convenience of the plot is a silly addition to the franchise. Mill’s relationship with his daughter, which is supposed to be the emotional heartbeat of the film, is very poorly written and often just annoying, while Maggie Grace’s character of Kim Mills is extremely two dimensional. Even Neeson himself looks extremely bored, looking to have his mind solely on getting the whole shoot over with and picking up his large payment.
Inevitably the DVD will be a 15 rated ‘extended cut’ that will feature a bit more blood, but it will still be extremely bland and dull as there is no escaping the fact the plot and Neeson’s character just makes for extremely boring and predictable viewing. The film’s climax should be a thrilling and slick sequence (even if it does feature a trademark eastern European villain fighting in his pants) but it never feels like that despite the fact Bryan Mills has all these forces supposedly hot on his tail. It just does not feel like he is never defying any odds, and if a protagonist is not defying any odds then that makes for very dull viewing. Even a supposed twist can be seen coming way before it happens, and it also unfortunately (but not surprisingly) sets up the potential for Taken 4 despite the fact everything supposedly “ends here” (wherever “here” actually is, probably Luc Besson and Liam Neeson’s rather large bank balances).
I implore anyone who is yet to see this shameless cash-in not to see it at the cinema or indeed buy it in the shops so that maybe, just maybe, it will not make any profit and it can indeed end here!
Despite a potentially better plot than the hideous Taken 2, Taken 3 is only a marginal improvement and yet another shameless cash-in of a film made with no effort by its makers or cast that is a really boring 109 minutes of pure nothing.