Ignore the mainstream criticism of the original Taken. You’ll miss a pretty fun action movie if you decide to ignore it simply because it falls under a 60% on a scale influenced by people who typically expect only Birdman‘s and Boyhood‘s, while dismissing simple action or horror movies for being too simple. Taken was simple. Create an old-school action hero out of Liam Neeson and send him on a rampage to save his daughter. It was an enjoyable little thriller and you could honestly get the sense that this man would stop at nothing to save his daughter. Liam Neeson’s Bryan Mills turned into a modern day John Matrix (Arnold). Sure, it might have been missing some cheese, but the over-the-top action and a punchline or two were present to make it fun. Taken was a major financial hit and a sequel soon came along.
The sequel sucked. Everything that was fun about the first was absent from it. It still offered decent fight scenes and a little bit of brainless action, but it suffered due to its predictability leading to a lack of suspense and sheer mediocrity. I haven’t even dug into the fact that it was painfully obvious that it only exists to cash in on the success of the original. Taken 2 was also a financial hit. What does this mean? Taken 3. With the release of intriguing action movies such as The Raid 2, John Wick, and The Guest in 2014, can Oliver Megaton, Luc Besson, and Liam Neeson still provide us with a fantastic action movie? The answer to this question is no. If you watch any of those movies before watching Taken 3, you’ll understand why I am saying this. I’d even go as far as saying that The Equalizer (which I actually enjoyed) and The Expendables 3 (which most people hated) had more to offer in an action movie than what Taken 3 does.
This is a film that takes the time to play a melodramatic tune in the background while Mills seems more concerned over saving his own ass and getting revenge on the men who killed his wife as opposed to actually showing any emotion over her death.This is a film that puts in the effort to set up a big twist that is completely obvious from the get-go. This is a film that has more false deaths and crazy escapes for its hero than Arnold and Stallone movies put together. If the hero is going to escape crazy shit and if the story is going to be completely preposterous, why do they take it so seriously? The only comic relief that I saw throughout the entire film is the main bad guy deciding to fight Mills in his underwear. Come to think of it, that part is the only part that I can actually say I enjoyed. Good cheesy action fun. This is something that Taken 3 is lacking. Neeson goes through the motions. Taken 3 goes through the motions. Nothing to see here. Not a single action sequence worth talking about. Money is the only motive.
…and guess what folks? You can probably expect a fourth sometime soon.
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Superpower Film Scale: 1.5/5
1: Villainous Waste
2: Careless Bystander
3: Hero unaware of powers
4: On the verge of greatness
5: Heroic film
Standout acting heroes: Forest Whitaker