Possible spoilers ahead!
After racking up an impressive body count in both France and Turkey, (with little to no consequences I might add), the destructive Bryan Mills (Liam Neeson) brings his set of skills home to sunny Los Angeles in “Taken 3.” So after his daughter was taken, then his wife was taken, who is left to be taken? Bryan’s best and oldest friend, Willie the mailman.
I’m kidding of course, there is no mailman in this movie. My point is that “Taken” and “Taken 2” were both abduction dramas, first featuring the abduction of Bryan’s daughter, then his ex-wife. Both times nefarious international criminals were responsible for the kidnappings. Well, “Taken 3” has even more international criminals, but this time (for a change) nobody in the family is kidnapped.
In “Taken 3” Bryan’s ex-wife Lenore (Famke Janssen), is murdered in his home. Framed for her death, Bryan decides to not waste time explaining things to the police, and instead goes on the run. Bryan believes this is his best chance to protect his somehow still in her late teens daughter, Kim (Maggie Grace), as well as bringing the true killer to justice.
While “Taken 3” is not as good and the original movie, its huge a step up from the mess that was “Taken 2.” The story is sharper this time around, and Bryan’s friends finally get more than a cameo. This movie has some great spots, including a captivating and sincere performance by Liam Neeson. Forest Whitaker as the detective chasing Bryan Mills is also quite good. But “Taken 3” is not a movie without its share of problems.
Liam Neeson is impressive physically, but the fight scenes are filmed with so many closeups and cuts that the action itself is never clear to those watching the movie on the big screen. The number of cuts per scene in this movie is insane, and all the cuts do is make sure that the audience never gets a chance to orient itself, or really care about what is happening.
Also, the violence appeared toned down from the two previous movies. I found this a little odd because as far as can I remember, all three films have the same PG-13 rating.
I can deal with fast paced editing and toned down violence. But what drives me nuts about the Taken series is the lack of simple continuity. Here are some examples of what I mean: In the first movie, Maggie Grace wants a music career. At the time this seemed a pretty important plotline, but this is never mentioned again in any of the movies.
In the same movie Lenore’s husband is played by fifty something actor Xander Berkeley. In “Taken 3” the same character found the fountain of youth and is now played by forty something Dougray Scott.
And last but not least, this family has an uncanny ability to get over kidnappings, beatings, getting shot at, and being sold as a sex slave. They didn’t even need therapy or anything.
Bottom line: “Taken 3” is not a great movie, but it’s not the worst in the series either. There’s plenty of action, bagels, and even a few laughs along the way. But the only reason this movie works is because of Liam Neeson.
“Taken 3” final score: 7