Taken 3 is yet another installment in the ever-growing list of Liam Neeson revenge thrillers. If you were to view a random scene from Taken, Taken 2, Unknown, Non-Stop, or A Walk Among the Tombstones, do you think you could tell which one it was from? Probably not, but so long as the money keeps coming in, Liam Neeson will continue kicking arse onscreen.
In a slight deviation from the first two installments, nobody is taken in Taken 3 (at least not at first). This time around it is Bryan Mills (Liam Neeson) who is on the run, as he has been accused of being responsible for the murder of his ex-wife, Lenore (Famke Janssen). Never one to turn the other cheek, Mills is forced to become a fugitive and at the same time uncover who is really responsible for Lenore's death, all the while protecting his daughter (Maggie Grace) from the ensuing chaos.
It is worth saying that Taken 3 can only be enjoyed when taken at face value. If you're looking for a complex, thought-provoking masterpiece, then you've come to the wrong place. If you're looking to munch popcorn and see a good action flick, then congratulations, this is for you.
Much like the first film, Taken 3 does a fine job of establishing the high stakes behind the inevitable barrage of fists and gunfire. Mills will do anything to ensure the safety and well-being of his daughter Kim, and the film does a nice job of reinforcing the two's loving relationship. Although it is a bit odd that while Mills cares so deeply for his daughter, he doesn't seem to have much regard for anyone else who he may be putting in danger while firing weapons in public and starting multi-car accidents. But like most action movies, a suspension of disbelief is required and in this case, granted.
Although the plot is fairly predictable, I do give credit to the filmmakers for attempting a story that isn't strictly about Neeson running the gauntlet to rescue someone who's been kidnapped. It was also refreshing to see Liam Neeson's character pitted against an adversary with half a brain (Forest Whitaker) as opposed to the numbskull thugs he dealt with in the first two films.
Taken 3 is far from perfect and certainly nothing groundbreaking, but the action sequences are exciting, the characters are at least somewhat developed, and the plot is slightly (and I mean slightly) more intricate than what I was expecting. And for a genre that has recycled the same actor five times over in the last seven years, this action movie is not as dreadfully monotonous as it could have been.