Liam Neeson continues to follow the footsteps of Bruce Willis by ending up in the wrong place at the wrong time in Taken 3, a twist on the previous two installments where Neeson’s Bryan Mills finds himself on the run from the law for a murder he clearly did not commit, Fugitive-style. Give Neeson and reason to beat people up and he’s instantaneously enjoyable to watch. Condense his butt-kicking to two action scenes in the film’s latter half and something feels amiss.
With his international days of battling kidnappers behind him, Mills is trying his best to reconnect with his daughter, Kim (Maggie Grace) and subtly rekindle a romance with his ex-wife, Lenore (Famke Janssen). After the film spends a half hour setting up the domestic situation that also involves a curiously large amount of time spent witih Lenore’s new husband, Stuart (Dougray Scott), the brutal murder of Lenore sends Mills running to the “rabbit hole” safe house where he conducts his own investigation into his ex-wife’s death.
Taken 3 places a lot of weight on Forest Whittaker’s police force and their ability to keep up with Mills but never catch him. It’s more than a stretch to believe the police wouldn’t rework their investigation after visual evidence is found of others being involved in Lenore being “taken” before being killed. Without the police and its savvy leader chasing Mills around Los Angeles, there’s little else for the film to accomplish other than let Mills beat up some thugs while fighting for the safety of his daughter.
The original Taken was novel and highly enjoyable as Mills worked through scores of international kidnappers to rescue Kim. After two rodeos, even Neeson is starting to look tired within the franchise that has grown into its own genre. Edit cuts every half-to-full second during action scenes can’t always bail him out and leave Taken 3 feeling cheap before examining an amateurish script as a result.
You could put Neeson’s Mills character into a high school musical and he’d still be entertaining to watch. Taken 3 might as well be a made-for-TV movie if Neeson weren’t involved. His gravitas, and that alone, makes it watchable for a single viewing.
Fox Home Entertainment has packed the Taken 3 Blu-ray with a Digital HD copy but no DVD. The visual presentation is surprisingly film like with light hint of grain visible throughout, especially during sequences shot outdoors. The transfer has a natural appearance that is often digitally tinkered and tinted in modern action films. A 5.1 DTS-HD Master Audio sound track compliments the visuals with some necessary thump during explosions and clear dialogue, of which there is a surprisingly large amount of.
You get an extra seven minutes worth of footage from the unrated cut of Taken 3, available as a viewing option alongside the theatrical version. The other bonus features are relatively light but enough to entertain franchise fans while doting a “legacy” worthy of a chuckle.
- Deleted Scene – Flashback Malankov (7 mins)
- Sam’s Bunker A.K.A. The Rabbit Hole (3 mins)
- Taken to L.A. (4 mins)
- A Taken Legacy (5 mins)
As much as I love Neeson as Bryan Mills, enough is enough. His streak of outsmarting everyone has had its day in the sun and it’s time to put this character and franchise to rest. There’s no better proof of that than packed within the jerky direction and twitchy finger editing of Taken 3. At least it looks and sounds great, befitting a man with seemingly endless resources to get the job done.
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