Director: Olivier Megaton
Cast: Liam Neeson, Maggie Grace, Forest Whitaker
One thing you learn after watching the third film in Taken franchise is that Liam Neeson's Bryan Mills has shockingly bad luck. Despite him watching the backs of his ex-wife and daughter, they simply cannot keep out of harm's way. When one of them is not being abducted in a picturesque European destination by Albanians, they are being killed right in their bedrooms in California by Russian thugs.
The film charters new territory in the sense that action unfolds in the US instead of Paris or Istanbul. And that, dear readers, is probably the only innovation in this film. Taken 3, as is the wont of this franchise, takes off from a wafer-thin plot, has one-dimensional character portraits and inept direction.
But let's begin at the beginning here. When Bryan Mills (Neeson) is not playing the loving father to his college-going daughter Kim (Maggie Grace), he is offering a sympathetic ear to his ex Lenore (Famke Janssen) who is having trouble with her marriage to Stuart (Dougray Scott).
And then Lenore ends up dead in Mills' apartment and he emerges as the only suspect, never mind that Stuart has some seriously dodgy business deals going on with the Russians. So obviously, Mills escapes by magically finding out that a stranger's locked garage has a sewer right under it. He gets it but the cops don't, so they end up standing there and twiddling their thumbs.
Then they bring in the big gun, Detective Dotzler (Forest Whitaker) who is described later in the film by Mills as 'very clever'. In fact, he and Mills seem to be part of a mutual admiration society. When cops do manage to arrest Mills, Dotzler tells his juniors that the latter is just playing them!
It is hard not to admire Neeson in this film, come to think of it. He can beat a couple of Russian toughs into a pulp in under three minutes, he walks away from a car that's fallen off a cliff AND burst into flames without a single scratch and he makes police look like complete fools.
Every time someone is about to attack him, you want to go and physically stop them and point out the futility of their act. Why do it when Neeson will definitely kick their posterior in the next frame?
That brings us to action sequences, considered to be the strength of Taken franchise. Don't get your hopes high this time because the film fails to deliver there as well. Close shots and jerky movements of a handheld camera fail to create any momentum; all that cracking of skulls can give you nausea though.
Add to that cringe-inducing dialogue, bad direction and cardboard villains who are absolutely no match for Neeson's almost superhuman skills.
The only redeeming factor of Taken 3 is that it is supposed to be the last film of the franchise. We are sure Neeson can do something vastly superior with his time.
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