“Listen carefully, Kim, I wanted you to hear this from me,” says Bryan Mills (Liam Neeson). “Dad, what’s wrong?” asks Kim (Maggie Grace). “Your mom is dead. I don’t know why but I’m going to find out. Don’t trust anyone,” replies Mills who has just been framed for his ex-wife’s murder in the final installment in the action/thriller series Taken 3.
Framed for the brutal murder of his ex-wife, ex-covert operative Bryan Mills goes on the run and “down the rabbit hole” – as he and his ex-CIA buddies call it – to evade the local LAPD lead by the smarter-than-your-average-detective Frank Dotzler (Forest Whitaker). Determined to clear himself and find the real killers as well as who hired them, Mills once again must rely on his “particular set of skills” which of course include unbelievable car chases, explosions, hand-to-hand combat and almost endless shoot-outs. Mills has to do all this while also protecting the only family he has left, his lovely daughter Kim who might just be the killers next target.
Fast-paced, loud, and mindless, Taken 3 is not the worst chapter in this absurd revenge fantasy thriller franchise just the most unoriginal. Instead of Neeson’s Mills doing the hunting, this time he’s on the run from the authorities trying to clear himself of his ex-wife’s murder. Hello…everyone’s seen this movie already; it was called The Fugitive starring Harrison Ford. The only thing missing is the one-armed man.
The direction and editing is a choppy, blurred mess, with none of the car chases and big shoot-outs holding a candle to any of the exhilarating action scenes in the Bourne films or the original Die Hard movie – prime examples of how you do a GREAT action crime thriller. The first chase through neighborhoods of L.A. when Neeson’s Mills is trying to escape from the police is the only good chase sequence in the entire film.
Working in the film’s favor are the performances of Liam Neeson as the loving but incredibly lethal father Bryan Mills and Maggie Grace as his daughter. The few scenes between them are the best in Taken 3, in particular the scene in which the two are briefly reunited while Mills is still on the run and he has the chance to briefly mourn Kim’s mom and check on his daughter’s safety.
Here’s hoping that this truly is the final installment of the Taken film franchise and that both Neeson and Grace can move on to far better projects.
Taken 3 is rated PG-13 for intense sequences of violence and action, and for brief strong language.
Theatrical Release Date: January 9, 2015
Running Time: 109 minutes
– Reviewed by Kevin Finnerty
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