Finally a sequel with the guts to forgo the subtitle and just use a good old fashioned number.
“Taken 3” is the third foray into the universe Bryan Mills. A guy who just can’t stop finding himself in the middle of international conspiracies and bad guys who want to mess with his family. The movie once again follows the pattern of the first two. which is basically the classic “messed with the wrong guy” scenario, amplified to the factor of defcon Liam Neeson. You know it’s hard to remember now, but when the original Taken came out 7 years ago, Neeson wasn’t even really thought of as an action star. Pre-Taken Liam was involved mostly in Oscar fare like Schindler’s List, Rob Roy, or Michael Collins. I mean the guy played a lead in Les Mis for Pete’s sake. But after growling his way through rescuing his kidnapped daughter in 2008, it’s been one angry Neeson movie after another, with corpses stacked behind him along the way. It’s been a pretty incredible and smart cinematic transition for him, but it may be just about time to shift the gears back a bit, because Taken 3 is a pretty lame movie.
Of course to be honest, that’s not really his fault, and the fact that the audience tends to make these movies about Liam Neeson, may actually help this one in the long run. The movie does enough of what you want from it, that if you decide to like it, you probably will. It’s Liam being Liam and for many that will certainly be enough. For me, well, I’m willing to grant it a bit more watchability than the second if for no other reason than it notches down the ridiculous phone conversations and eye rolling action star super powers that Neeson had in that one. But it’s still like they are flailing here trying to remember what made the first one so good other than Liam Neeson with a gun and an attitude. Hint: it’s about the story
In the first movie, the agenda was clear, daughter kidnapped, must save daughter. The story was tight, intense, and edited well. Here, it’s as if we aren’t sure what the real heart is and the director resorts to expositional scenes to try to get us on board. Plus, and I’ll try not to spoil the first major plot point here, this movie isn’t about protection it’s about revenge. In the first, Mills wasn’t killing people because he didn’t like what they did, he was killing them with a very clear purpose, to retrieve his daughter. But the worst thing for me has to be the ridiculous plot conveniences in this. Need some information? Well good thing you happen to have this miracle device that interfaces with everything and automatically downloads exactly what you want. It’s as if the movie has no desire to be distracted by realism, if it gets the plot where it needs to go, then we will just make it happen magically. Again, stuff you can likely ignore if you’re just waiting for the next explosion or gun battle, but if you’re like me it’s nails on a chalkboard stuff that becomes very distracting.
Overall, Taken 3 certainly has a particular set of action skills, I just wish those skills had included directing a cohesive story, with an interesting plot. If you’re in it just for Neeson you might have a good time, but for me the silly plot convenience and lack of forward story momentum take this down to a C-