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Review: Taken 3

Taken 3
01.08.2015
3 10
Taken 3 liam neeson banner

PLOT: Terminally unlucky former special agent Bryan Mills (Liam Neeson) is framed for the murder of his ex-wife. Now, he must use his “special skills” not only to prove his innocence and solve her murder, but also to find those responsible and punish them – brutally.

REVIEW: It's stunning how quickly the TAKEN series has run out of gas. The original – directed by Pierre Morel as opposed to the Olivier Megaton for the sequels – was by no means a classic, but it was an efficient, highly entertaining actioner. It also gave star Liam Neeson – deep into middle age – the full-fledged movie stardom that often eluded him. Thanks to the series, Neeson is now one of only a handful of stars that can be called truly bankable (in action anyway).

Taken 3 liam neeson

Sequels should have been easy. All writers Luc Besson and Robert Mark Kamen had to do was spin-off Mills into some cool adventures, but instead they made the first sequel such a rip-off of the original, it felt more like a remake than a follow-up. The third one somehow manages to be an even worse movie. While they at least ditched the premise of someone being 'taken' instead they've put Neeson into a concept that's so unoriginal (man-on-the-run) and low-rent that it feels like everyone involved – from the writers to the director to the star – just decided to put as little effort into the follow-up as possible.

How bad is TAKEN 3? How about this – at one point in the movie Neeson is offscreen for about twenty-minutes. And he's literally the only reason to watch this. Instead we follow around Forest Whitaker and his Keystone Kops colleagues as they try to find Mills, spouting off such cornball lines like “he couldn't find a tail if it was attached to a dog.” Given that this runs close to two hours, this entire stretch could have been cut and no one would have known the difference. The supporting cast is pretty bad too with Whitaker's colleagues all being generic cop types (although Whitaker is clearly trying), while Maggie Grace has virtually nothing to do except stand around all doe-eyed and worry about her insanely bad-ass dad (she should know by now that she doesn't need to worry). What's even worse is how low-rent it is. Megaton furiously edits the film to try and fool us into thinking that we're watching a thriller, but for seventy percent of the movie nothing happens, except a car chase/pile-up that's so lame, it would have Vin Diesel hang his head in shame if it turned up in a FAST & FURIOUS. Scratch that – something does happen. People talk into cell phones. A lot. If you want to see a movie with people talking on phones, watching videos, or using computers, this is the movie for you.

Taken 3 liam neeson

The only explanation for how curiously short of action most of TAKEN 3 is is that most of the budget went into Neeson's paycheck, and rather than cut into the profits, the actual production budget was dialed down. Thus, no more European locales (this is set in L.A), and very little in the way of set-pieces. Things only star to liven up about seventy-minutes into the film, when Neeson finally goes into action mode, but even then the action scenes are only okay (although for a guy in his sixties Neeson looks great and moves incredibly well). For most of the film there's not even a bad guy to hiss at, with the villain (after a brief introduction in the pre-credits sequence) being a generic Russian gangster who's only introduced right before the climactic action scene. There are a few red-herrings sprinkled throughout, but nothing that most viewers won't have predicted by about ten minutes in.

TAKEN 3 really is shockingly bad, even by TAKEN 2's already low-standard. It's a shame this franchise has been run into the ground, but then again, I'm sure this will make money so we'll likely get a TAKEN 4: THE PAYCHECK that's even worse. TAKEN 3 (or TAK3N - ugh) is so bad that other than a moment or two during the (few) action scenes, the only time I was enjoying myself was when my friend whispered “Darkman” during the bit when Neeson's solemnly marching through a sewer system. Sigh, I wish I had been watching DARKMAN. Heck, even NON-STOP or UNKNOWN would have been way better.

Source: JoBlo.com

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