TAKEN 2 was perhaps the biggest disappointment of my life thus far (OK…that’s a slight overstatement, but it was a huge let down). When the trailer came out for TAKEN 3, I’ll admit I was pretty impressed – it looked sweet! But is it?!
TAKEN 3 finds our favourite ex-operative, Bryan Mills (Liam Neeson) on the run after he is falsely accused of murder. Mills must employ his “particular set of skills” to find the true killer, protect his daughter and clear his name.
It is widely acknowledged that TAKEN 2 was average. Shortly after it’s release, Neeson was quoted saying he wouldn’t return for a third film, yet here we are.
Perhaps the team were keen to end on a higher note (or maybe it was the fact that the sequel made over $150 million more than it’s predecessor) either way, here we are for round three.
Interestingly, despite the general consensus that TAKEN 1 is the far superior movie, we do not see Pierre Morel return to direct. Instead, TAKEN 2 director Olivier Megaton gets another go. Thankfully, it appears he is keen to make a better impression.
Despite the slow start and some character clichés, TAKEN 3 has the advantage of a stronger script. Mills employs some cool tricks to outwit his pursuers and there’s a few plot twists to keep us guessing.
The car chases present some adrenaline-fueled moments, yet many of the hand-to-hand combat sequences suffer from frantic over-editing and claustrophobic close ups (perhaps employed to help disguise Neeson’s slowing reflexes – he is 62 years old after all!). This sadly often makes it difficult to distinguish Mills from his enemies and decipher the fight/action choreography.
Overall, the cast is fairly strong. Neeson still accomplishes the suave tough guy image despite his undeniable aging. Maggie Grace remains cute but feisty as Kim, and Forest Whitaker is familiar yet likeable in his ‘fair cop’ role.
While efforts have clearly been made to ensure TAKEN 3 is a cut above instalment 2, it still falls short of my hopes. It’s a fun film, it’s got some great elements and cool moments, but ultimately there is something missing… For TAKEN fans, it’s a fun revisit to the series and is well worth a trip to the cinema – just don’t expect TAKEN 1 standards. I rate it 6 stars.