Taken 3: Film Review
Cast: Liam Neeson, Forest Whitaker, Maggie Grace, Dougray Scott
Director: Olivier Megaton
It all ends here.
Well, so the marketing for Taken 3 promises anyway.
Liam Neeson returns as Bryan Mills, who finds his life is once again thrown into disarray by violence and mobsters in this latest outing.
Mills is forced on the run and becomes the hunted (The Fugitive anyone?) after he finds his ex-wife murdered in his own house. The police, led by Forest Whitaker's Inspector Franck Dotzler, are closing in, but Mills is determined to clear his name and protect his daughter Kim (Maggie Grace).
The geriaction franchise promised this time around that nobody would be Taken again - and that it would be a different story.
But this time around with the hook of the series removed, Taken manages to feel flat, soulless and completely formulaic.
Neeson manages some warmth as the gruff but softly spoken and exhausted Mills; and in a nice touch, he appears to show his weary age during some of the fight scenes giving this latest slice of preposterousness a touch of much needed grounded reality. In fact, his is the sole reason to watch.
The problem with Taken 3 comes in those who orbit around Mills; every single cop - aside from Dotzler - is a complete dunce who lack the basic skills to even remotely do their job competently. Even Whitaker's Dotzler is majorly underwritten - a genius detective who spends his time looking left and right, while twirling either an elastic band or handling a white knight chess piece; he's less an enigma, more a barely fleshed-out cliche.
Equally Megaton has hardly made things enticing to watch - choppy brisk editing during action sequences using a bevvy of cameras and an abundance of over-shaky cam means that you can't actually focus on what's happening without the director's ADD kicking in and showing you 17 different angles simultaneously rather than showing us something impressive.
Formulaic and lacking any real tension, the flat Taken 3 even finally resorts to having someone taken (again) - but in between you'll have to endure Neeson's talking to a stuffed panda (the SNL sketch Mark Wahlberg talks to animals springs to mind), Neeson's dispatching of relationship advice or talking puppies.
Believe it or not, the seeds for a fourth Taken (T4ken anyone?) are sown, with a potential new generation of Mills' family siblings possibly facing threat, but when all is said and done, the uninspired, unexciting and over-long Taken 3 is quite simply Taken The Mickey.