Why wasn’t this the Second Movie

Taken 3

Anyone remember the last time Liam Neeson wasn’t in an action movie?
Yeah it’s pretty difficult for me too, but nevertheless the actor’s
skill at being a bad boy never ceases to impress America. Here I am
again writing a review on yet another thriller, this time returning to
his role as Bryan Mills the one father you really don’t want to piss
off. After the lackluster sequel we got last time, I hoped this random
installment would provide a better story that returned to the roots of
the series. What did I get? Read on to find out.

Let’s think back through the series before we start this review. The
first one was a balance of uncovering the rabbit hole that was Kim’s
(Maggie Grace) kidnapping and Neeson beating the crap out of a posse of
thugs. In the second, the balance was thrown for excessive action,
which merely was mass execution of the family of the thugs from the
first series. In this installment, the balance is somewhat back with a
more complex scheme to which Bryan must dig himself out of. His wife
Lanore getting whacked helped break the mold that his family is immune
to death, and pinning the crime on him changed up the pace. Thus Taken
3 is more like a remake of the fugitive, with plenty chasing, dodging,
sneaking, and snooping around the big bad feds. Fans will get to see
Mills work around the most tech savvy nation, again impressing you with
how much the man can do. But Robbie what about the action? It is kind
of there, but mainly reduced to lots of car chases with choppy camera
work and random angles to help give a more complete picture. There are
a few shoot outs and an occasional fist fight, but they have been
greatly diluted from the previous numbers we have seen. I guess this is
an example of story supported by action, but to change it that greatly
may not have been the best move.

Of course you might notice this as much when you see Liam Neeson back
on stage. Die-hard fans are going to fall in love again with his tired
and true character, a courageous, hard edge, assassin with a heart of
gold. If you haven’t tired of it yet, then odds are you’ll be just
fine, but I was hoping for some character development with the death of
his wife. Luckily Neeson has some well delivered lines to bring some
humor to the mix, helping relieve some of the “tension” that builds up.
However, age hasn’t helped evolve this character, and unfortunately has
slowed some of his moves down. As for Kim, she is still as cute as
ever, but this time isn’t quite the pathetic mess we’ve seen before.
Some big things happen in this film that are important to the story,
and become the weakness to the superman that is her father. A nice
addition to the cast was Forest Whitaker, playing the chief inspector
in charge of bringing Bryan to justice. Whitaker’s charm is well
received in this character, blending with the OCD like nature of a head
inspector that adds a little weakness to the position of power.
Attempting to match Bryan’s move, Whitaker is like the rival chess
player in deciphering the clues left behind in the chase. It makes for
a more interesting opponent than the simplistic barbarians with guns we
have seen, and the fact that he is a good guy made it even better for
me. Unfortunately the bad guys in this film are not quite as skilled as
I had hoped. I know that I would stand no chance against a syndicate
like this, but there wasn’t much drive with the thugs we fought. Sure
they had some strength and a few had a few tricks up their sleeves, but
they lacked any real bite that I felt other villains in the past have.
Most of the time the bad guys weren’t even on screen, and they were
only somewhat integrated into the multi-layered scheme of the head
villain.

I think the only other component I can talk about is the editing in a
simple film like this. Taken 3’s film has some decent quality to it,
the audio in particular designed to maximize the amplitude of
explosions and bullets to keep you awake. As for the scenes themselves,
they are okay. Seeing our hero uncover information, and sneak amongst
highly guarded sectors was pretty cool, as were Whitaker’s analyzing
moments and clue gathering. However, the action was a bit to hectic in
camera work, an almost random hodge podge of relevant and unnecessary
hastily mixed together. Some of the scenes could have probably been
altered down if not left out completely, but the crew kept the film
rather tight at almost 110 minutes so I can’t complain too much. Other
than that, a few times I felt the dialog had been dubbed over, a few
choice words being replaced with others despite their mouth movements
not matching. A little sloppy there, but for most won’t be a big deal.

Taken 3 is supposed to end the series, but the ending leaves it open
for more trouble should the box office do enough business. I liked this
one better than the second, but it still does not match what we got
with the first adventure. Chances are you will see it, and all the
movie magic is definitely improved with the theater’s high definition
speakers. I can actually recommend this one for a trip to theater, but
only if you can handle a little less action and a little more plot.
Instead of a score I’ll give you this ranking instead:

Movie Overall: Moderate

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