Sunday, January 11, 2015

Taken 3

Year: 2015
Director: Olivier Megaton
Cast: Liam Neeson, Forest Whitaker, Maggie Grace, Famke Janssen, Dougray Scott, Sam Spruell

Plot: When his ex-wife ends up dead mysteriously at his apartment, Bryan Mills goes on the run and uses his special set of skills to clear his name and find her killer.

Review: Liam Neeson is back as Bryan Mills once again, except this time he doesn't have to save anyone. While the changed premise is a fresh angle to the Taken franchise, this instalment doesn't quite generate the same level of excitement as the first one. But then again, the very first film is a hard act to follow.

The main reason for this instalment's less than stellar performance is putting Olivier Megaton in the director's chair again. He did the second film, and like that one, plus a few other films produced by Luc Besson, the mistake of filming the action scenes too close is very evident, again. The action sequences themselves aren't as creative as what we've seen before in other films. There's a nicely executed scene of a semi-truck carrying a container that crashes during a car chase scene, but that's about it. The other stuff, including a foot chase, some hand-to-hand fights and a penthouse shootout, seem mediocre overall.

The cast at the very least try their best to make the script look good. Neeson is always on point, he never fails in any role he gets. Forest Whitaker is pretty good as the detective on Bryan's tail, even if he's done almost the same character in The Last Stand. Dougray Scott is a somewhat poor replacement for Xander Berkeley as Maggie Grace's stepfather, not that Scott can't act, but he looks too nice, especially once the audience figures out his role in this story. The film also suffers from including a load of drama from losing Famke Janssen's character, which could have been minimised. The reason the first film worked is the limit on the drama and tightening the action throughout.

The best part is actually having Bryan's team of helpful friends again. Leland Orser, David Warshofsky and Jon Gries are always a sight for sore eyes in the film series, lending the kind of assistance only the CIA can provide. If only they made a Taken film featuring Bryan and the team taking on a formidable enemy. Now that would be something I want to watch.

While I'm somewhat sad that this series has come to an end (at least it seems to indicate it has), I'm even sadder that it ends on a whimper. But then, it has to end anyway. If you're a fan of this series, you can go see it and say goodbye, just don't expect a grand exit. (6/10)

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