In the first Taken, some really dirty people kidnapped Liam Neeson’s daughter. He found them, and killed them. In Taken 2, the father of one of Neeson’s victims attempted to seek revenge by kidnapping Neeson and his family. They failed miserably. Neeson killed them. In Taken 3, Neeson is framed for murder. Can you guess what happens?
The funny thing is, the film opens up with Liam Neeson’s Bryan Mills having a conversation with his daughter (Maggie Grace) about how he doesn’t want to be predictable anymore. It is incredibly ironic, because the film itself doesn’t try to be predictable… but it is. It means to change things up by framing Mills for the murder of his ex-wife (Famke Janssen) and sending him on the run from a wily detective (Forrest Whitaker).
For a while, the film moderately succeeds. There is a solid mystery element that makes the movie much more intriguing than in part 2, when the entire plot seemed too easy for the uber skilled hero. Forest Whitaker’s LAPD detective provides a somewhat comical little foil to his incompetent branch of officers who repeatedly fail to bring Mills in. But as the story unravels, it falls into the same cliché doldrums that plague every B-movie; A bland adversary, a predictable “twist”, and action sequences with more noise and nauseating camera work than actual thrills.
The first Taken was a classic, but only because it came first. It never lent itself to being a series, because none of the characters have any real substance. Thus, it isn’t surprising in any way to see the follow up films feel like a mindless exercise in futility. And sadly enough, it leaves things open for a possible fourth installment. But, if you’re going to bother sitting through another one, there’s at least some solace in knowing it’s better than the last soulless, simplistic romp.
FINAL GRADE: C-