Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Review of TAKEN 3: Useless and Unworthy Sequel

January 20, 2015

"Taken" (2008) was such a memorable action film. It brought Liam Neeson back up from his career doldrums and made him into a bankable senior action hero. Its exotic European setting, the frightening white slavery story, and the extreme violence of the action sequences made it a most memorable film. "Taken 2" (2012) was an okay follow-up, yet we already recognize that its formula is getting a bit thinned out. After watching the much-awaited "Taken 3" though, they really should have stopped while they were ahead.

This third episode of the series was set entirely in the state of California. Our hero ex-CIA Special Ops man Bryan Mills gets framed for killing someone very close to him. He needs to figure out who really did the crime before the police catch up with him. That is all. It is as generic as it sounds. Furthermore, with the Russian hoodlums as the bad guys, it is just like any B-quality Seagal, Van Damme or Statham flick out there we have seen before.

Totally gone are all the elements which made the first Taken film so memorable and special. The action sequences had no grit or realism. At no time did we ever feel that Mills was in any serious danger. There was even a scene where the bad guy was just wearing white Speedos while fighting Mills, which honestly had me chuckling in its supreme awkwardness. The car chases were so run-of -the-mill and disappointing. The fondness of the director Oliver Megaton for close-ups on the action scenes too much did not help.

Liam Neeson acted like he was just fulfilling a contract here. He is usually good and reliable as an actor, but in this film, he looked bored and seemed to lack the passion he is known for. Maggie Grace is pretty but she sort of looked old to be a whiny college student. One look at Dougray Scott's face and you can already predict what his role will be. Sam Spruell An interesting addition to the cast is Oscar-winner Forest Whitaker as the senior police officer who tries to match wits against Mills. 

"Taken" should just have ended after the first one. The second one was passable. But this third one is totally unnecessary. It need not have been done at all. Esteemed scriptwriter Luc Besson should not have settled for such a lackluster final episode to end his action trilogy. No one even gets "taken" in this film at all. 3/10.

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