This time, the only thing getting taken is your patience.
While Olivier Megaton’s Taken 3 is much better compared to its very disappointing predecessor, it is still largely mediocre. The film is nothing but a haphazardly edited race to franchise death.
Like Megaton’s Taken 2, Taken 3 suffers from the dilemma of squeezing content out of the first film’s limited premise. Luc Besson decided to take a different route after the second film was panned for repeating the story beats of Taken. Instead of rescuing a kidnapped loved one, he decided to let Bryan Mills get framed for the murder of his ex-wife, thus becoming a fugitive from the law.
A creative decision like this is a double-edged sword. It “frees” the film creatively in order to make a more captivating and “fresh” all-out third chapter. However, by doing so, it completely betrays its own “identity”. This risk flounders even more when the final product of the “freed” Taken 3 is just as hollow as almost every Liam Neeson action flick since the first installment.
I can’t help but wonder how Olivier Megaton keeps getting work. There’s almost zero personal auteur signatures in his work, if any. At least Luc Besson had a specific style and visual flair. As with all Megaton action films, this one is plagued by slipshod editing to accommodate a PG rating. So not only is it bland but it is also annoyingly bloodless and unfocused. One could hardly appreciate any fight choreography.
The cast doesn’t help much either. I’m not sure if it’s franchise fatigue or cruise control but Liam Neeson doesn’t even try anymore. Famke Janssen is wasted by getting fridged. Maggie Grace and Dougray Scott don’t do much either. The only highlights were the cartoonish Sam Spruell and Forest Whitaker, the latter reminding us that he can easily do a captivating cop character at the drop of a hat.
Fortunately, Besson’s script was passable. Some interesting twists and red-herrings here and there, which, unfortunately, led to an utterly predictable ending reeking of fridge logic.
All in all, I guess I was wrong. Even the franchise’s integrity got taken. Rest in Peace.
Rating: 2 out of 5 stars