It’s Taken (get it? get it?) three movies but retired covert operative Bryan Mills (played by Liam Neeson) and his ex-wife, Lenore (played by Famke Janssen), have found their way back to each other. Unfortunately, their reunion is short lived before she is murdered. Framed for the crime, Bryan has to evade the FBI and CIA and every law enforcement agency under the sun while trying to solve Lenore’s murder and exact revenge. In this third and (supposedly) final entry, he must rely on his “particular set of skills” to track down her killers and protect their daughter, Kim (played by Maggie Grace). Does he have it in him to do it one last time?
I’ll admit, the Taken franchise is a guilty pleasure for me. I think the first one is the best one and a solid film. The sequels though? Not so much, though I will say that Taken 3 is an improvement on Taken 2. It’s a fun popcorn flick with action and characters we’ve become familiar with over the years. I think I read that Liam Neeson received a hefty $20 million paycheck to return, and opening at $40 million it appears it was a wise financial decision. I certainly can’t fault the guy. I enjoy his films for what they are and he’s a likable personality. But you definitely watch the film feeling that money was the goal and not much more. While it had its moments, this film definitely felt like a run of the mill, unmemorable PG-13 action flick. An R rating could have added more grit, but that would mean less money. A better commitment to bring the franchise to a satisfying close would have been better.
I liked the addition of Forrest Whitaker to the film. Right away you knew they were going to do a bit more for him than turn him into your run of the mill police chief. He added humor quite a few times throughout the movie, though he alone isn’t enough to make this a good film.
Maggie Grace is in her 30s now and I have to say I never found her to be a believable teenager, even in the first film. It was actually the worst in the first film honestly. But certain things happen in this film that will mature the character more I think, so in the event that there are sequels, you can buy it.
All in all, if you have to see this film, see it. But while it’s better than Taken 2, you should still keep your expectations low. The first one is far and away the best. I also wouldn’t buy into the whole idea that “It Ends Here” like we see plastered in large letters on this poster. I think it won’t truly “end” until they stop making good money off the name. It’s Hollywood after all…