Director: Oliver Megaton
Starring: Liam Neeson, Maggie Grace, Famke Janssen
We all have a friend that loves doing the same things over and over again. They have the same monotonous routines and they rarely shake things up or come out of their shell. In general, they lack certain creative forces necessary to enjoy the spice of life. The ‘Taken’ franchise is that friend. When the first film came out, it took audiences by surprise with its surreal imagination. It was so exciting and new that it captivated us all. Then the sequel came along and, while it didn’t let us down, it became evident that there were major holes to the films, along with the sense that we’d seen it all before. It didn’t bring anything fresh to the table, yet we were all okay with it. Despite no one actually getting taken in this third installment, it took seconds to realise that we were witnessing the same story, just a different day. ‘Taken 3’ did the same thing it has done twice before with no regrets.
Liam Neeson has been portraying a uniform character for years now. He acts as the insanely capable, military trained, super soldier that is seemingly impossible to kill. He notably played the exact same role in ‘Non-Stop’, ‘Run All Night’ and ‘A Walk Among The Tombstones’. The gambit has run its course, Liam. Please spare us all and do a biopic or something. Neeson used to have acting credibility but now all he’s got is a penchant for getting those payday cheques. The acting outside of Neeson is remarkably egregious. Maggie Grace, who plays the daughter, has not been able to act since the first film, but in a curious decision, the writers felt she deserved even more screen time. Further, Famke Janssen, who plays the ex-wife that got taken in number two, is perhaps the only other actor of note and inexplicably gets erased within the first half hour. So, we’re left with an abundance of deficient dialogue from stock characters with appalling Eastern European accents to go along with a laughably cheesy script.
The action scenes are the “saving grace” for ‘Taken 3’ but not even a bunch of Euro trash getting knocked out or fast car chases where a Porsche takes down a plane can really be considered worthwhile entertainment. Quite frankly, whoever gave the green light to the script for this shameless money-grabber should probably get taken himself and do us all a favour, if only to ensure there are no further additions to this long-dead franchise. It was like the producers weren’t even trying, and that’s the biggest disservice anyone can ever do in film. The great filmmakers make movies because they are passionate; they want people to feel their passion and their inspiration. ‘Taken 3’ laughs in the face of that ideal. It’s “Michael Bay-ism” in the worst sense.
‘Taken 3’ is not film for art or entertainment, it’s simply a social experiment to see how much money can be made from regurgitating the same stuff with different branding. And that’s what disappointed me most about this flick. Not that the acting was atrocious or that the script was abhorrent, but that they didn’t even try to make something worth watching. ‘Taken 3’ is just something you’ll pay for, and we’re all suckers in that regard.