In yet another episode in the very eventful life of former special forces agent Bryan Mills, Taken 3 sees Liam Neeson take on a whole (kind of) new set of bad guys in order to save his daughter from mortal peril (she’s very unlucky, that daughter of his).
The Taken series is very much about family, and focuses on the lengths Neeson’s character goes to in order to protect the ones he loves. In the latest (last?) instalment, we see him set up for the murder of his wife (Famke Janssen, who, by the way, still can’t act).
The first 20 minutes of the film are cheesier than a supermarket deli. Missing is Bryan Mills’ awesome, understated, powerful one-liners that made Liam Neeson serious old-man babe material. The script is so lame and an obvious set up to ensure the audience knows just how badass Liam Neeson is, rather than letting his awesomeness speak for itself.
I got over the lameness once all the action ensued. Quite frankly I couldn’t wait for Janssen to die, because I’ve hated her since the first time I saw her try to get her paws on Josh Hartnett in The Faculty all those years ago.
Like every action film, common sense goes out the window and in order to escape the baddies (and to progress the plot of the film, obvs), Mills kills a bunch of cops and flees instead of explaining how he got in his predicament. And, of course, the bad guys can’t shoot and the good guy goes on to accidentally kill a bunch of faceless people who were in the wrong place at the wrong time in order to save just one person. There’s a terrible scene where Mills causes a container to slip (what?) off a truck and roll over several cars, crushing the passengers. There’s another scene where he causes an elevator to blow up as it travels up the inside of a building, surely slaughtering anyone inside. But it’s all good, he needs to save his daughter.
A nice addition to the franchise is Forest Whitaker, who plays Inspector Dotzler. Whitaker always puts an interesting spin on his characters, but Inspector Dotzier is kind of stupid, even though he’s supposed to be this genius who knows exactly what Mills is going to do next. All I see of him in the film is him in his car, saying “I’m on my way” every time his detectives are about ready to catch Mills. Mills would have been caught ages ago if the detectives didn’t have to constantly wait for Forest Whitaker to get there. Where even are you Forest?!?!
There are some excellent, excellent fighting scenes though. The bad guys call Mills an old man more than once, which I liked because it meant the filmmakers weren’t trying to pretend Liam Neeson isn’t nearly ancient. The bad guys kick the shit out of him and he gets pretty tired. But luckily they looked away for a second and Mills manages to kill them.
There’s great chemistry between Neeson and Maggie Grace, who plays Mills’ daughter, Kim. Maybe too much chemistry though. It’s a bit gross.
There’s also this weird sub plot where Kim is pregnant, but there’s absolutely no need for it in the film. I was also disappointed the Kim character wasn’t as badass as she was in the last Taken film. In Taken 3, she’s a prissy girl who needs her daddy to save her. She’s just a bystander and it’s boring as hell.
The first Taken was so awesome any sequels didn’t really stand a chance. They’re the action film equivalent to the Fast and Furious franchise. Meaning I will see any and every sequel made as long as the original cast is in it. And Liam Neeson rules.