From the same team that brought us ‘Taken 2’, ‘TAK3N’ promises more of the same: Liam Neeson shooting bad guys. While the first two films were mostly enjoyable, is the third just flogging a flagging horse?
The third ‘Taken’ film opens like the others – all is well in the world of Bryan Mills (Liam Neeson). He’s slowly reconciling with his ex-wife Lennie (Famke Janssen, ‘X-Men’) as she works through a separation with her husband, Stuart (Dougray Scott, ‘Enigma’). Bryan’s relationship with his daughter Kim (Maggie Grace) is great, while she’s dealing with her own grown-up problems. Then, predictably, it all comes crashing down. Bryan finds Lennie murdered in his apartment, with the police believing he’s responsible. What follows is Bryan’s path of destruction as he hunts down those behind his framing.
Firstly, we can’t fault Liam Neeson. He always puts in 100% despite questionable concepts and less-than-stellar writing. We can’t really blame him for signing on to what should be a decent pay cheque. Also, he clearly has a lot of fun making these kinds of films. The rest of the cast do a good job, and even Maggie Grace is tolerable. She’s finally let her character show some brains.
The writers have expended quite a bit of effort to set ‘TAK3N’ apart from the other films, with the addition of the very clever Detective close on Bryan’s tail. Oscar winner Forest Whitaker (‘The Last King of Scotland’) creates a believable character in Detective Frank Dotzler. Other aspects of the story, such as there being some mystery as to the identity of the real bad guy, and the (rather obvious) showdown at the end make ‘TAK3N’ quite a bit better than ‘Taken 2’.
The editing is decent, as unlike some other action films, the car chase or gunfight scenes don’t drag on too long. There are a few wasted moments where the film tries to convince us that it's more than just an action film, throwing in a couple of scenes that attempt to add some emotional gravitas to the proceedings. Thankfully, there’s not too much of that. There are some unexpectedly amusing moments, delivered well by Neeson, however, a couple lines were unintentionally funny for the wrong reasons.
Liam Neeson always puts in 100% despite questionable concepts and less-than-stellar writing.
The action itself is pretty great, however, there’s a moment with a shipping container that looks like it’s been pulled from a video game. Fight scenes are well choreographed, if unrealistic. But hey! We don’t go to these movies for the realism! Just like, no matter how many times the hero looks to be toast, we know he’s gonna be just fine.
The ending is predictable. We all saw it coming from the beginning, but that’s okay. There are enough twisty connections and back-stabbing to make the premise more than a simple murder mystery. Just as with the other films, there’s plenty of corniness, particularly between Bryan and Kim. And, despite the tag-line “It Ends Here”, the film includes a little set up for yet another sequel. I wouldn’t be surprised if we hear more about that soon, if ‘TAK3N’ does well at the box office.
If you’re looking for some mindless well-made action, aren’t too fussed on the story being at all surprising, and like yourself some Liam Neeson, ‘TAK3N’ will tick your boxes.