Genre: Action, Crime, Thriller
Directed by: Olivier Megaton
Starring: Liam Neeson, Forest Whitaker, Maggie Grace, Famke Janssen
Early on in Taken 3, brooding Bryan Mills and his dull as dishwater daughter Kim discuss the nature of predictability. It’s a scene that seems to exist solely to act as a not-so-subtle reminder that we should be expecting the unexpected from this third part in the austere action series. The only thing that’s likely to surprise though, is just how hackneyed and horrible Taken 3 turns out to be.
Pulling what shall be dubbed ‘the full Hangover’, Taken 3 attempts to revive the franchise by shifting the narrative in a new direction while retaining the title that’s guaranteed to strengthen monetary returns. Bryan (Liam Neeson, clearly tired) now lives in LA, spending his time offering oversized plush toys to his daughter (Maggie Grace, clearly bored) and marital advice to his former love (Famke Janssen, clearly can’t be bothered). Then, when he is framed for a murder he did not commit, Mills must once again rely on his trusty set of skills in order to clear his name and bring the true killer to justice.
Despite the story modifications, Taken 3 is still a nauseatingly predictable event complete with a third-act plot twist that you’ll spot before the end of act one. The script, another lacklustre effort by Luc Besson and Robert Kamen, is a tired torrent of clichés mostly borrowed from the first two instalments. It’s unpleasantly violent in nature, stupidly serious in tone, and absolutely no fun whatsoever.
Even the normally reliable Forest Whitaker fails to inject the film with some much-needed energy. Instead he seems to have stumbled onto the set with an insatiable hankering for warm bagels, and a constant need to unburden the stress of appearing in this cinematic crap by constantly playing around with an elastic band.
It’s sloppy too. Particularly the action, which is edited to within an inch of its life so that the image becomes so choppy it’s barely distinguishable. In fact, the only time the camera slows and allows the audience to focus is when it’s shamelessly lingering on the logos of the various car-manufacturing companies it wants to promote.
What it all points towards is a director who clearly doesn’t care about the films he’s making anymore. Throughout, Olivier Megaton shows no interest in trying to stimulate or reward the audience. His pace is so sluggish that even though it clocks-in at under 2hrs, the film still feels like you’ve lost a lifetime watching it. If there’s one thing Taken 3 does take, it’s the piss!