In the next few weeks you’ll see a strange dichotomy at our theaters. There will be plenty of runoff of quality films that are gunning for the Oscar. On the other hand, we’re officially seeing 2015’s first few January flicks. This second group probably couldn’t spell Oscar.
If you check out my anticipated list for 2015, you’ll see that the next few months won’t be completely fruitless, but good entertainment will be sparse. Now, it’s time to get Taken for the third time.
Liam Neeson is back as Bryan Mills. After saving his family from Eastern Europeans two times over, he is back to being an awkward dad in Los Angeles. He attempts to keep a healthy relationship with his ex-wife, but it seems there is trouble in paradise with her new-ish husband. Before long, tragedy hits home and Bryan is framed for the murder. Instead, of giving himself up to the police, he uses his special set of skills to escape police custody and go on the lam, not giving up until he finds who is behind the murder.
In the first movie, Mills was the aggressor. He was a freight train of torture on a path to save his daughter. Taken 2 showed us that his actions had consequences, as the families of the men he killed came after he and his family. Taken 3 does not go back to that territory. Instead, it just seems that Mills is incredibly unlucky. Instead of being primarily hunted by European thugs, he is hounded by the LAPD, led by Detective Dotzler (Forest Whitaker). Don’t worry though, there are also Eastern European thugs in the mix for some reason.
I faulted the second Taken movie for being a less exciting copy of the original. With Taken 3, they are changing the story quite a bit, but it’s far from original. If you’ve seen The Fugitive, you should know what to expect. The only difference being that The Fugitive is a good movie. Where Harrison Ford had to jump off a drainage waterfall and risk death, Neeson does similar escapes like escaping a women’s restroom through the window.
It’s strange that Neeson has tied himself to director Olivier Megaton. He redefined his career with the first Taken, but now it seems to be the only kind of role he’ll take. And it’s not a great role. I see glimpses of Nicholas Cage in Neeson’s recent work. It’s hard to imagine that he is/was an incredible actor. Perhaps the script calls for the character of Bryan Mills to be a big, wooden doofus that only speaks in whispers. Neeson’s acting in Tak3n is probably his worst in the series.
Popcorn action fans won’t be entirely let down. There’s the standard car chase, a foot chase and some incredibly quick editing techniques whenever there is close combat. The action is cut well. Neeson seems more like a brutal action star, rather than the tired old man he appeared to be in Taken 2, or 2aken.
You will spot the apparent plot twists in the first 5 minutes. There’s really nothing to it. This knowledge makes the exposition monologues at the end feel awkward and unnecessary. That’s really the theme to Tak3n, it’s not hard to watch, it’s just unnecessary.
I didn’t hate this movie. I just felt nothing for it. It won’t rank in my year end worst list. If you feel compelled to finish this trilogy (which actually started off with a great idea), then it’s worth a rental. For everyone else, it’s best to not waste your time. C-