I really have to stop giving movies the benefit of the doubt.
Liam Neeson returns as Bryan Mills, the man with a particular set of skills, in “Taken 3”. This time around no one is taken but instead Bryan is framed for the murder of his ex-wife and must run from the LAPD and clear his name. The film is directed by Olivier Megaton, who directed “Taken 2” but not “Taken 1”, so do with that info what you will.
“Taken 3” is the third movie in a series, is following a subpar sequel, and is being released in January. There is literally no reason why I should have thought this would be a good film but alas, I went in optimistic.
That was my mistake and I take full responsibility
There’s a lot going on in “Taken 3” and almost none of it is done coherently. Much like “Taken 2”, Megaton cannot shoot a clean PG-13 action scene, and everything is done using shaky-cam, close-ups and quick, nausea-inducing edits. There is one segment when Neeson is running from the police and you can’t tell what is going on. I actually had to look away from the screen because it was hurting my eyes.
The saving grace is that there isn’t much action in this action film. I actually timed it: it takes 40 minutes for Neeson to punch someone, exactly an hour for him to kill someone and an hour-twenty before he fires a gun. In a movie that is marketed as Liam Neeson killing bad guys, and the third film of a franchise that has seen him kill a combined 50 men, taking over half the film for someone to finally die is unacceptable.
One of the things “Taken 3” almost does well is Forest Whitaker’s new character. Playing the inspector assigned to solving the murder, Whitaker is pretty much Neeson’s mental equal. Every time Neeson tries to pull something, like lose a cell phone or distract the police with a fake car, Whitaker knows it’s a trap and doesn’t fall for it. For a while it is was interesting, however by the end of the film is becomes more tedious because it means that no one is actually gaining any ground on one another.
Try now, if you will, to remember “A Good Day to Die Hard” and how indestructible John McClane has become. That is Liam Neeson in the Taken franchise. He survives things that no human being could ever live through, such as a car flipping a dozen times down a hill and said car then exploding. What’s worse is in the very next scene he is shown completely unharmed, and the film either doesn’t explain how he survived and just expects you to accept it or worse offers a ludicrous, implausible explanation.
This is the best way I can sum it up: the Taken trilogy is just like the Hangover films. The first film was a fun surprise, the second was a subpar but passable carbon copy, and the third tries to divert from the original formula but it ends in horrifically boring results.
“Taken 3” is an uneventful film that is hampered by ineffective PG-13 action sequences, and even seemingly dedicated performances by Neeson and Whitaker can’t elevate an awful script. There isn’t much more to say about this film. The word “taken” is in the title, yet the only thing taken is the audience’s $10. The poster for the film says “It Ends Here”; I sure as heck hope so.
Critics Rating: 3/10