Taken 3 Review: Loud and overblown, the film brings nothing new to the table

Mihir Fadnavis

Jan 09, 2015 16:33:21 IST

In the first Taken, his daughter was taken.

In the second Taken, his wife was taken.

In the third Taken, your money will be taken.

Welcome to yet another Liam Neeson cash grab, featuring a bunch of people who first get on the wrong side of Liam Neeson, then frame him for something he didn’t do, and then get punched in the face repeatedly.

We’ve seen this plot unfold already in two Taken films and in Non Stop (which was basically Taken in a plane). Director Olivier Megaton and his writers make zero effort to bring anything new to the table – they know that the formula worked in the second movie and is likely to generate a lot of cash even the third time round. Everything remains the same, the stakes are not three times higher and neither is the action three times more powerful. There is only one major increment – the stupidity is three times stupider.

 Taken 3 Review: Loud and overblown, the film brings nothing new to the table

Photo courtesy: Facebook

The film opens with the same cringe-inducing establishing shots of Bryan Mills (Neeson) being the best dad in the world, craving for love from his daughter (Maggie Grace) and still having a ton of affection for his ex-wife (Famke Janssen). Then we get cringe-inducing establishing shots of Mills being set up by an unknown entity whom Mills will naturally find. This is followed by the usual run-and-gun style action told through cringe-inducing establishing shots of the city scape – the services of which are rendered this time by Los Angeles. In case you haven't picked up on this — you cringe a lot while watching Taken 3.

Also from LA are the set of baddies, which includes Sam Spurell as Malankov, the stock shady Russian goon with tattoos. The central villain in the film is hidden for a laughably long time and the "twist" isn't likely to shock anyone above the age of five.

When you’re watching a thriller and end up noticing the film’s technicalities, it means neither the story nor the filmmaking is interesting. In Taken 3, both are pretty awful.

This time, Mills is the lovechild of Jason Bourne and John McClane. He does everything from outrunning cops, outgunning villains, and driving a Porsche into a plane to stop it from taking off. If that’s your idea of entertainment, well and good, but there’s not a lick of humour in the film – at least of the intentional variety. Plus, if we have to see an action hero repeatedly pummelling people and escaping a spray of bullets from Russian automatic machine guns, there has to be a sense of danger and adventure to it. Every stunt in Taken 3 seems sterile, as if Mills is just going through the motions, as are the audience, knowing that even if he gets hit, Mills will eventually get up, escape and kick the goon’s heinie.

It does not help that there’s Forest Whitaker playing the most over-the-top cop to have graced cinema screens lately. He carries a chess board knight and solves the central case in the movie by smelling a packet of bagels. It really doesn't get stupider than that, right?

Oh but it does, in the form of Dougray Scott, who spends the majority of the movie doing an embarrassingly terrible Russian-Irish-American accent, clearly still upset about not taking on the offer of playing Wolverine 15 years ago.

What worked in the first Taken was the lean, mean and stripped-down attitude and execution of the film. There were no bombastic chase sequences and the stunts were quick and fast, playing out in dark settings and lending Mills a suave, Batman-like vibe. Things fell apart in the second film, when Mills began throwing bombs all over the city. This time, the action is painfully generic, loud, overblown and ultimately underwhelming. Even the fight sequences are shot with a drunk camera that stays just enough still to make you realize Neeson is just acting as an action hero, rather than being one.

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Updated Date: Jan 09, 2015 16:35:24 IST