Taken 3 is currently in theaters
Taken 3 (2015) – Rated PG-13
“Ex-government operative Bryan Mills is accused of a ruthless murder he never committed or witnessed. As he is tracked and pursued, Mills brings out his particular set of skills to find the true killer and clear his name.”
It is pretty sad when absolutely the best thing about a Liam Neeson action movie is the preview for Liam Neeson’s next action movie.
One Line Review: Liam Neeson is a man with a particular set of skills – unfortunately saving this film is not one of them.
I have to admit that I was not caught unawares. Taken (directed by Pierre Morel) was a fabulous romp but Taken 2 (directed by Olivier Megaton) was just awful, in spite of some nice shots of Istanbul, the same cast (well, those who survived the first film anyway), and the same screenwriters.
All three films were written by Luc Besson and Robert Mark Kamen. Strangely Taken is well written but Taken 2 is a slapped together mess, apart from the humorous idea that all of the surviving family members of the villains that Bryan Mills (Liam Neeson) killed have banded together.
The script for Taken 3 is surprisingly lazy. Since Mills was a superspy, you can simply write him doing anything to escape or kill and they do but the scene of Kim Mills being bugged is stupidly clumsy. When you hear Basil Exposition state that Kim always drinks the fourth peach yogurt drink back in the fridge, you will be rolling your eyes waiting for that tip to be useful. We actually return to that little gem twice.
Still lazy is better than inept. I think Olivier Megaton is easily the worst director working in action movies today. After taking down the Transporter series, he has now destroyed Taken in two steps.
I feel so sorry for the stuntmen on Taken 3. Straining to look, you can see that there is a lot of fantastic stuntwork going on in Taken 3. Sadly, Megaton films it entirely with jump cuts and shaky cams. I did a count in my head during one sequence where a car goes off a cliff and I couldn’t get past two Mississippi before it cut over and over again to different angles of the same scene. Every single action sequence is ruined in this fashion. A nice shootout in a liquor store shows some promise but any other director would have handled it better.
Taken 3 seems bizarrely discontent with its PG-13 rating, aiming instead for an actual PG in the violence, despite the torture. I don’t remember specific examples of language but all of the violence is filmed in an incredibly bloodless fashion. When Mills finds a body in his bed, he is completely in disbelief that the person is dead, in spite of the victim’s throat having been slit. I can understand his disbelief as there isn’t so much as a drop of blood spilled in the entire bed.
Lest you posit that this person was killed elsewhere, drained of blood, and transported, let me post another example. Later in the film, Mills shoots a shirtless protagonist mutliple times in the torso. He then tortures this individual by poking his gun in the bullet hole. There is not a drop of blood on this victim, either before torture or after gun poking. This goes on and on. The usual ridiculous number of people are killed for an action film, all bloodlessly.
The tagline for Taken 3 is It Ends Here. We can only hope.