Released in 2008, Taken was a huge surprise and a lot better than it probably should have been. Tense and exhilarating, but also a little silly, not only was it responsible for one of cinemas most quotable monologues in recent memory (I will find you) but rebooting Liam Nesson’s career as a later-in-life action hero. Now, seven years later, we have Taken 3, supposedly the closing chapter to the trilogy, except it isn’t really a ‘Taken’ film at all. The main players are back, specifically Neeson’s Brian Mills and family, but in an obvious attempt to do something different with this final film, it loses what made the original so good in the first place. This time around, the plot has Mills being framed for murder and going on the run (like The Fugitive, but nowhere nearly as good), and so he is once again forced to use his particular set of skills to seek vengeance and bring those responsible to justice.
Gone is the tension and perhaps most noticeably, the violence, that made the first film so memorable. Many would blame this on this films 12a rating, the lowest rating of the whole trilogy, and the BBFC does clarify that cuts were made to guarantee the desired rating in post production. However, I honestly can’t imagine those cuts being anything substantial as very little happens at all in Taken 3 anyway, a shockingly dull and drab shadow of the original. The bulk of the film drags so much that I was half expecting the sixty two year old Neeson to be using a zimmer frame by the final act, using it to beat stereotypical Russian mobsters to a pulp.
It’s laughably awful to the point of self parody, Liam Neeson’s character now seemingly superhuman by surviving not one, but two car explosions, without a scratch on him. It’s a shame because one of the best things about Taken was Neeson, who has himself mocked the idea of re-hashing the same idea time and time again in this series. This third part is clearly as painful for him as it is for us, forced to spout out lazy lines about bagels and dogs tails; he’s checked out, cashed his cheque and just wants to go home. I genuinely feel bad for fans of the original two films who may have been hoping for a satisfying ending to the trilogy, because Taken 3 just fails on every level. It’s a lacklustre, bore of a film that offers zilch in terms of story, drama and more importantly action. The only silver lining is that this is in fact the last film in the series, with the films tagline reading ‘It Ends Here’. Well, thank God for that.
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