Director: Olivier Megaton
Starring: Liam Neeson, Forest Whitaker, Maggie Grace, Famke Janssen
Release Date (US): 9th January, 2015
Company: 20th Century Fox
“Lenore sent me a text, asked to come over to my place for bagels. I got the bagels.” – Bryan Mills
Directed by Olivier Megaton (Taken 2), based on a script co-written and produced by Luc Besson (Lucy), Taken 3 marks the third outing of retired CIA Agent, Bryan Mills. Liam Neeson (Non-Stop) returns to the franchise he ignited six years ago with the brilliant original Taken film that suprised both movie fans and critics alike. While the 2012 sequel was received far less favourably, the same cast and crew are back to complete the trilogy, which sees Mills hunted and accused of a ruthless murder he never committed.
“Story? Where we’re going, we don’t need a story.” At least that’s what I like to imagine messrs Besson and Kamen (The Fifth Element) were thinking when they sat down to pen this wholly unnecessary follow-up to one of the most disappointing sequels in movie history. Like many others of its ilk, this is an action vehicle through and through. Plot and scripting never once played a significant role in the creation of this tale.
The sad part is that the movie still pretends it has one. Ranging from paper-thin to downright insulting at times, the viewer will gain a considerable amount more by simply ignoring the plot – and just focusing on the thrills (of which, there are a fair few). As far as action movies go, this mindless thriller is reasonably effective, full of enough car chases, shoot-outs and solid stunt-work to keep audiences happy. As far as Taken movies go, it’s appalling – and only serves as further insult to the original film.
“What are you going to do?” – Kim Mills
“I’m going to finish this.” – Bryan Mills
Liam Neeson is a great actor. He’s proven it time and time again – in a variety of different genres. Recently, he’s found his niche at the heart of the action/thriller section of Hollywood. Despite portraying a similar style of character every time around, Neeson’s gritty intensity and inherent likability have always made his thrillers a hit – apart from the Taken sequels. By this tired third instalment, most of the magic Bryan Mills once had is gone, and it’s hard not to see this as anything more than a quick (lucrative) paycheck.
That’s not to say Neeson’s the issue. In fact, he’s the one man holding this mess together. The rest of the cast are infinitely less impressive. Maggie Grace (Lost)’s is ineffectual in a thankless sidekick role, while her onscreen mother and step-father (played by Famke Janssen and Dougray Scott) deliver two of their worst performances of their otherwise solid acting careers. Any promising hints towards a face-off between Neeson and Forest Whitaker (The Butler) are quashed by the sheer incompetence of the latter’s character.
Direction & Tone
Luc Besson had somewhat of a quietly impressive year in 2014 – writing, producing or directing two solid hits (3 Days To Kill, Lucy) and one unashamedly fun misfire (Brick Mansions). Even the latter eclipsed this Taken threequel – and that sadly has much to do with the direction of Olivier Megaton. Uneven, bullish and, at times, just plain lazy, the Frenchman’s style represents the worst of modern day action filmmakers.
- The fact that this movie was marketed as Tak3n makes it all the more odious to me. Let’s never use numbers instead of letters again – mmkay studios? Ever.
- I kid you not, bagels play a vital role in this movie. This would be unforgivable, were it not for the fact that Neeson sorta-calls them “baggels” – and that’s kinda funny.
- I’d like the Taken sequels more if they had been directed by Olivier Megatron. No, wait, I wouldn’t. They’re still rubbish.
- Fun anecdote time! I love the first Taken movie, but the first time I watched it was the night before I was due to fly overseas on my own for the first time (at the age of 16). I didn’t sleep at all that night. Not. One. Wink.
Olivier Megaton continues his single-handed demolition of a franchise that should have only ever existed as a single (decent) film. Neeson is solid, but the script is incredibly weak. Make no mistake, this movie is nothing more than a shameless cash-grab.