2008’s Taken is one of my favourite Liam Neeson films and due to its popularity we not only now have a Taken 3, but we’ve also got a wide range of similar Liam Neeson action flicks to watch. With Taken 3 being the third in a now trilogy of Taken films a lot of people might be on the fence as to whether this is going to be any good or not as most franchises seem to go downhill after the second film. But Taken 3 manages to be something entertaining, with a lot of action and a lot of surprises, even though it’s a bit of the same.
In Taken 3, Liam Neeson’s character of Bryan Mills is living a somewhat happy life which alternates between visiting his daughter Kim (Maggie Grace) and his now ex-wife, Lenore (Famke Janssen). However not is all is right in the world and Bryan Mills has a lot of enemies out there, things start going bad when someone murders someone close to him and frames poor Bryan for the crime. To clear his name, Bryan must find out who did it, while also evading the police which is led by Franck Dotzler (Forest Whitaker) who is trying to bring him in for the murder.
Taken 3 to me seemed to be aiming to be something that is much more action focused than the previous two films, but it’s a lot less violent (not much blood or anything like that). It’s more of a point and shoot film, with a lot of car chases and a lot of explosions with a bit of hand to hand fight scenes. The majority of Taken 3 comprises of scenes like this, so if you’re going in to see this for the action, then you’ll definitely get what you want delivered.
The tone of the film also seems to me to be a little bit different from the previous two. It sort of felt like the characters, especially Bryan Mills were sort of like caricatures of themselves in previous films with a lot of the lines and sequences having similar outcomes or set ups. Due to this you get a less serious Taken film and there are even a few laughs to be had here and there. It’s a lot easier to watch for some viewers who may not want to see a more gritty film, like Taken (2008) or a more violent film like Liam Neeson’s recent work in A Walk Among The Tombstones (2014).
I also felt that because of the change in tone that a lot the characters aren’t to be taken so seriously and Forest Whitaker’s cop didn’t really ever seem to be a threat to me, he was just a bit silly. But I guess he provides some relief from the action scenes and his performance is alright overall for what his character was.
With Olivier Megaton having also directed Taken 2 (2012) we get the same kind of experience with Taken 3 so if you liked the second film, you’ll likely enjoy this one as well. Overall I do like Megaton’s directing of Taken 3, although I did notice that he tends to use jump cuts to a super high extent which could be annoying to some and the camera is all over the place sometimes. But the action scenes are well executed and I would say I also enjoyed a lot of the car chases in this one as well.
As far as a film that’s also meant to be a bit of a thriller, Taken 3 doesn’t have the suspense that the first film had or maybe even the second one and I guess it might be due to the screenplay changing the tone of the film in Taken 3. This is more of an action film, with Bryan Mills being some type of unstoppable force that no one can really handle. It’s less about the danger associated with someone being taken and then needing to be rescued which provided so much of the suspense in the first film and the second.
What you do get that’s great in Taken 3 though is Liam Neeson. I don’t know what it is exactly about his acting in these types of films, but he’s just always entertaining. Having come out of Taken 3 I feel like I could watch Taken 4 and 5 quite easily with the same sort of plot and action scenes from Liam Neeson and I’ll still be entertained. Liam Neeson is a joy to watch and there’s probably many people out that wouldn’t mind more of this from him in the future, maybe not necessarily in another Taken film, but any film will do.
Other performances in Taken 3 are quite good. Maggie Grace returns as Kim for a third time and she knows her character well enough by now to be convincing with the role. Famke Janssen does well for her early scenes in this film as Bryan Mills’ ex-wife. Forest Whitaker is a bit of a surprise as I feel like I haven’t seen a film with Forest Whitaker in it for ages, but I did enjoy his scenes and even though his character is a bit silly he was good fun.
Overall I felt that I enjoyed Taken 3 and coming out of watching the film I felt that I enjoyed my time with it much more than I did with Taken 2 (2012). While still not as good as the first one, this one is a much different film with a large focus on the action hero Bryan Mills who we see evade the cops and engage in multiple fights, car chases and gun battles. While it’s no masterpiece and who would expect that? It’s a film that’s a bit of fun. It’s a film for those who love action and enjoy seeing Liam Neeson do what he does best. If you go into this film looking for some good entertainment or just because you love the previous Taken films, or even just to see a Liam Neeson action movie, you’ll enjoy Taken 3.