It is an unofficial law in this era of cinema that any successful standalone film must be turned into a franchise. Taken is one of these films and although Taken 2 was a dull, pedestrian affair, I was still interested in Taken 3.
PLOT: Bryan Mills (Liam Neeson) is back in America but still being ignored by his daughter Kim (Maggie Grace) and strung along by his ex-wife Lenore (Famke Janssen). After being framed for the murder of said ex-wife Mills goes on the run and hunts down the killers before his daughter is taken x3. END PLOT
The Taken films are not known for intricate plots and twists. I have no issue with this and anyone who goes along to a Taken film expecting such a thing is either a fool or lying. The plot for Taken 3 is basic although there were attempts to introduce drama with an unplanned pregnancy and never ending conversations about the temperature of bagels. The script was never the selling point of Taken 3; it was always going to be about the action.
Unfortunately the action isn’t anything to get excited about and the big set pieces involve several car chases which appear to cause no casualties. The hand-to-hand combat which made the original Taken so impressive is a thing of the past. Despite the action being completely unoriginal it is fairly well executed and I admit that the Porsche vs Plane section did create a fleeting moment of tension.
Quite a lot of my forgiveness of the Taken franchise comes from my loyalty to Liam Neeson. I absolutely love how Neeson’s Brian Mills captures cranky Norn Iron irritation to perfection. It is great fun to watch if you don’t take the film too seriously.
I have quite a lot of time for Maggie Grace who deserves to be a bigger star than what she is. Taken 3 is the first time that Grace doesn’t feel too old to play Kim and making the character grow up has worked in her favour. Grace also rocks the permanently stressed up-do like a pro.
Forest Whitaker makes his debut as a local police force detective in an attempt to bring some acting gravitas to the franchise. The attempt fails and Whitaker is reduced to rolling his eyes at the double act of his bumbling deputies “Smith and Garcia” and talking about bagels in an overly serious manner.
Taken 3 is exactly what I expected so realistically I can have no complaints. The Taken films can now be considered a lazy franchise which will continue to plunder on as long as Liam Neeson is getting a nice pay cheque. Taken 3 gets 5/10 and it kills 90mins quite nicely. The rating hardly matters as I know I will be there come opening weekend of Taken 4 and all the others after that.