Barely out of the starting blocks of 2015, the third instalment of the multi-million geri-action Taken franchise sets the bar low for the rest of the year. Anyway, enough of the sporting metaphors, onto the bloodshed (or lack thereof)…
So, a catch-up. His daughter was taken in erm, Taken (2008). His ex-wife was taken in, you guessed it, Taken 2 (2012). In this final film, no such plot device is used. The only thing is that is ‘taken’ is your time and money…while Liam Neeson doesn’t even seem particular pleased to be in receipt of it.
Taken 3 sees Forest Whitaker plays the LA police detective on the trail of Neeson’s Bryan Mills after he is the only suspect in his ex-wife death played once again by Famke Janssen. Dialling in his performance (probably whilst thinking of his Oscar), his character is laden by clichés, from the haphazard box of doughnuts to the rubber-band snapping which is never explained. Even the eventual cat-and-mouse phone calls between these two acting heavyweights are dull and perfunctory. Mills is once again psychotically single-minded and still appears to completely misunderstand the needs of his daughter, much like in the previous films- I’m sure she really enjoyed those CIA spy laxatives. I suppose in that sense I should congratulate the continuity. The same cannot be said of the character played by Dougray Scott. You can’t recast a minor part of the previous outings and then expect us not to immediately single out a culprit.
Laughable, repetitive and cheap (though I’m sure the explosions cost a pretty penny), the film is cynically and lazily directed by Olivier Megaton and proves once again that just because Luc Besson is involved, it doesn’t mean it’s worth viewing. Rated at 12A, Taken 3 is left with the bare bones of a tired story which reminds you just how good The Fugitive (1993) was and how bonkers but grimy the first film, Taken could be at times. Now cinema-goers can happily watch Bryan Mills practically water-boarding another character with all the family. And yet because the film has been awkwardly edited to get the widest audience possible, your children won’t even get to realise how terrible it is to see the hero do that.
If you are going to see this film, play a game. I call it: Bagel Bingo. All will be revealed and trust me, it’ll make Taken 3 so much better.