Film Review: “Taken 3”


Drew Quiriconi and Maneesh Somisetty

Liam Neeson’s particular set of skills are no match for the cliche storyline and stereotypical action movie characters that drag the third installment of the Taken series through the dirt and out to dry in the beating Hollywood sun.

“Taken 3” opens with Bryan Mills (Liam Neeson) going to see his daughter, who we learn very early in the film is pregnant. This unnecessary added plot line appears to be a last minute effort by the director to breathe some sort of humanity into the film but falls flat on its face as the pregnancy plays no role whatsoever in advancing the story.

The next day, Lenore, Mills’ ex-wife, texts Mills asking to meet up for bagels, an object that plays a far too unnecessary role in the film. Upon returning to his apartment, Mills discovers Lenore lying on his bed, murdered. Mills then embarks on a mission to prove his innocence and  bring vengeance to Lenore.

The movie is full of general logical gaps. Mills, who is framed by the murderers, never takes the time to easily explain the situation to the police who tail him through the whole movie but instead chooses to beat and shoot his way out of every encounter with law enforcement. Looking back on the movie, the police’s only role in the movie is to impede the main storyline.

Many of the things put into the film seem to be added just out of mere convenience. After Mills escapes his first encounter with the police, he saunters off to his super secret base that has everything he could need to take down the cartoonized Russian villain, Oleg Malenkov, played by Sam Spruell.  Malenkov is the ex-KGB Spetsnaz who is less a character but more an accumulation of Russian stereotypes. Another hard to believe coincidence is an old CIA friend that has a truck with more equipment than your local police station who aids Mills final assault on Malenkov.

Because Mills is the most resourceful man on the planet, obviously no one has a chance against him.  He rampages through the city of Los Angeles, taking down anyone in his way.  Mills is also practically indestructible, dodging hundreds of bullets and surviving multiple car crashes.  It would be far more realistic if he was just Superman.

Another immense area of trouble were the headache inducing action scenes. It’s hard to forgive an action film for providing second-rate action sequences.  Olivier Megaton, the director, was a bit too gung-ho to show off the number of cameras used to film the scenes, as the angle constantly switched with every karate chop and bullet delivered by Neeson during the fighting. Since the fighting scenes played such a large role in the movie, this is a huge potential turn off for moviegoers.  The director seemed to be trying a bit too hard.

But let’s not blame it all on the director.  While Liam Neeson will be turning 63 years old this coming June, he’s gotten a bit too old for this role.  He just can’t provide us with the intense actions scenes with flips and kicks we desire to see so badly.  Although his acting is always up to par, his believable spy persona is no longer there.  Maybe he should stick to roles where he’s sitting down from now on.

Even with all of this, we’re not saying that the movie didn’t have potential. The last two, although not necessarily Oscar winners, had a dark grit and a compelling storyline that this one missed out on. The original “Taken” that sparked off the trilogy delved into problems greater than most action films, such as sex trafficking and kidnappings. “Taken 3” favored a less compelling and more generic storyline, giving the film a different feel, just as the Christopher Nolan Dark Knight reboot had a different mood than the original Batman movies.

All in all, the predictability was the final nail in the coffin and what puts “Taken 3” among the slew of trilogies that should’ve stopped after the first.  You could do better things with your time and money.