Film Review: Taken 3

Image © 20th Century Fox 

Image © 20th Century Fox 

In 2008 Liam Neeson showed the world that he still had plenty of gas left in the tank as the star of Taken.  Written by Luc Besson, it was an dumb but entertaining romp of an action thriller.  Since it did really well we have of course been subjected to the sequels of diminishing return.

Which leads us to Taken 3 (at least it isn’t Tak3n).  In the first film it was his daughter who was ‘taken’ and in the second it was his ex-wife.  So who is left?  Well, nobody important really, so they had to up the stakes even more with a death!

Yes, this time Bryan (Liam Neeson) is trying to hunt down the man who killed someone important to him.  But that alone isn’t complicated enough for the final film of a trilogy so he is also implicated in said person’s death and must stay one step ahead of the police the entire time.

I cannot stress enough how overcomplicated the plot is.  They tried so hard to make this a genuine murder/mystery and in doing so they shoved so many people and elements into it that the entire movie toppled under its own weight. 

Famke Janssen returns as the ex-wife Lenore and Maggie Grace is back as their daughter, Kim.  On top of the familiar faces there’s also Forest Whitaker as Franck, the lead detective charged with bringing Bryan in and Dougray Scott as Stuart, Lenore’s current husband.  There’s also all of Bryan’s ‘coworkers’, two plainclothes detectives, Kim’s boyfriend and a mysterious Russian baddie, Oleg (Sam Spruell).  Those are just the important characters.  Throw in the nameless, faceless cops and thugs to beef up fight and chase scenes and you have yourself a sprawling mess.  It was around of the middle of the film that I just stopped caring about anyone as individuals and just wanted the thing to end.

That’s another problem.  The movie is 109 minutes long.

Where I criticized Taken 2 for being so action heavy and ridiculous (think Rambo 4) it became stupid, this one doubled down on emotions and limited the action so much I was just begging for Liam to punch somebody.  But alas, the fighting was parceled out and with the exception of one scene in a liquor store, very underwhelming.  (Although the car chase scene may have been more impressive if I hadn’t seen The Raid 2 just the other day.)

Taken 3 shows that maybe, just maybe, Liam Neeson is getting too old for this shit.