"If you go down this road the L.A PD, the FBI, the CIA are all gonna come for you. They will find you and they will stop you."
To say that Taken 3 had problems is a sight understatement. To be honest after the third instalment of a very tired franchise it’s difficult to remember a time when this was the hottest new action movie around, one that everyone wanted to imitate, including the Taken franchise. And wow, they have failed this time.
Bryan Mills’ (Liam Neeson) reconciliation with his ex-wife is cut short when she is murdered and he suddenly becomes the prime suspect. Now Mills must go on the run to uncover the truth and stop them before they destroy the only thing he has left.
You might find a few similarities between this and the Fugitive with Harrison Ford and an Oscar winning Tommy Lee Jones. But imagine that every element of the Fugitive is a lot worse and much more predictable and you have Taken 3.
One of the main rpblems with this film is that it’s pandering to a PG-13 audience which really shows. It makes Mills’ skills (ha, I didn’t even mean to do that) look completely unbelievable and almost comical. We get that Mills is supposed to be good at what he does but now he’s obviously more at home in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, so there’s no tension because you know that the central character will just find ways to get out of whatever situation he’s in for the sake of the plot and how motivated the writer are to actually create something original on the day of making this.
Half of the time the writers don’t even tell us how he got out of the situation. One moment there’ll be an explosion that is obviously fatal to everyone in the area but then in the next scene we see Neeson alive and well. How did he get there, we have no idea. Does it matter, according to the writers, no.
If you’re going to have cheesy action at least have lots of it. But instead of that I had to wait nearly an hour until Neeson finally began to go all ‘I will find you and I will kill you’ on the bad guys. To be honest I can’t even remember who the villain was. It was completely forgettable and utterly pointless because this film was not made to have an intriguing antagonist, it was made to have lots of them so Neeson could take them down. But it didn’t even have that.
To be fair Forrest Whitaker and Liam Neeson both do a good job with the material they have. The characters are clichéd and ridiculously bulletproof but they still have some interesting conversations together. Not on the level of Jones and Ford in the fugitive, but mildly entertaining nonetheless.
As an action director, and on such a high (maybe) profile title as the Taken franchise, Olivier Megaton gives a truly terrible technique to Taken 3. Megaton uses about five different camera angles to show someone jumping over a fence but at the same time only includes about ten seconds of single shot footage (meaning that only about two seconds of it can be seen) of action sequences. His priorities are seriously mislaid. The constant stream of sound effects doesn’t help either.
It would also be a good drinking game to find as many plot holes as you can in this film. Actually I can’t suggest that because I think I would be endangering anyone who reads this blog to alcohol poisoning. Nothing makes sense, events only occur in this film because they need to for the sake of the plot and it’s painfully obvious that the film was written that way. ‘Fugitive rip off, go out and do it. Don’t worry about making changes to the start of the movie to compensate for this twist we add in later. Take your time to show Liam Neeson reading a text, but not any time to give us a good action sequence!’
Not brutal enough to be a serious action movie nor fun enough to be a guilty pleasure. If you want a film about a man on the run watch the Fugitive, if you want a good Taken film, watch the first one.