First off, I want to start this review by saying, no matter what I, or anyone else who reviews ANYTHING ever says, every human being on earth is different and so I’ve always said you can take suggestions on any review but don’t take it as the Bible. Secondly, I’m not in the business of spoiler-filling, so you never have anything to worry about there that isn’t something you already see in the trailer. And finally, I want to say most people who have reviewed this film go in looking at “counting the number of steps” or “heavily concerned with plot.” To them I say “fuck you.” It’s an action flick. They don’t always make sense and should be judged by “did you enjoy the adrenaline rush or the ass kicking scenes or not?” And I can honestly say that with Taken 3 I did enjoy thus that as Liam Neeson continues to be the most bad-ass old white man alive today.
If you’ve seen the previous 2 Taken movies (and I am assuming you have because it’d be stupid to start with the 3rd installment of a series), you know what to expect: bad guys, Liam Neeson, stern warnings, going after anyone that even looks at his daughter sideways, uncanny abilities to track people and lose tails, and a lot of “good luck.” After killing 98% of France to save his daughter in the first film, and then reducing Instanbul to rubble while on vacation there in the somewhat-lacking second film, the third (and perhaps final) film in the franchise sees Bryan Mills in Los Angeles, his home city dealing with the struggles of trying to reconcile his relationship with his ex-wife Lenore, handle his sometimes-awkward relationship with his daughter Kimmy, portrayed-by-the-not-sure-if-hot-but-would-probably-still-bang Maggie Grace, and generally just be a good guy. We start off in a somewhat similar manner to the first film, where close to Kimmy’s birthday he just wants to “be Dad” but seems to have difficulty realizing his daughter isn’t 7 years old.
Things progress when we find out that his wife Lenore, portrayed by the very-hot-for-her-age-and-still-quite-bangable Famke Jensen, ultimately decided to try to work things out with new husband Stewart (wait, wasn’t she completely back with Bryan in the 2nd film? I’m a little confused here). She’s unhappy in her marriage and realizes how much she loves Bryan only to eventually end up murdered in his apartment. As a result, Bryan finds himself thrust into a war to evade the often-incompetent LAPD and the detective in charge of the case, Franck Dotzler, portrayed by the “ugliest back of the head in Hollywood” Forrest Whitaker. This film basically isn’t anything truly new or breath-taking in the plot; its Taken meets The Fugitive, but that’s alright because we know that a lot of people are going to get beaten up, shot at, and dead along the way.
Now let’s get into what I liked, what I didn’t like and what I found just WEIRD.
This movie goes back to the roots of the original – Bryan Mills is an awkward Dad because of his over-protectiveness but wouldn’t you be protective if your daughter’s 18th birthday present was a trip to France where she almost got deflowered by an obese Sheik for $500.000? Mills once again has the uncanny ability to get out of almost anything. The Los Angeles setting makes me feel like I’m watching Liam Neeson play physical Grand Theft Auto with his constant 3-star wanted level throughout the film.
Also there are a couple of jokes about the apple not falling far from the tree and Kimmy having as many psychological issues as her father including being very controlling and having OCD. It’s a lot of fun. Speaking of Kimmy she slides back into a damsel role in this film, which is fine with me as her being Robin to Liam’s Batman in 2 was just kind of weird… and is it weird to call him Batman when he was Ras Al-Ghul? Whatever.
Anyway, we’re back to more of the same, and albeit still slightly less violent than the first film, it is fun. For some reason I also get a kick out of the supporting cast including Whitaker as a bumbling cop and his even more-bumbling subordinates who are so confident they can do their job correctly but can’t seem to pin down a 60-something year old man. We also get to see more of Lenore’s annoying husband Stewart – and without saying too much Bryan and Stewart’s “dick measuring contest” from the first film comes full circle here. And of course foreigners galore. Foreigners are attracted to Liam Neeson in Taken films like weirdoes are attracted to calling into Asked. But that just means a nice high body count.
There are some strange inconsistencies in Taken 3, mainly because it can’t seem to make up its mind as to whether or not Taken 2 happened. In Taken 2, it seemed Bryan Mills was back with Lenore, and in this movie, she’s not. Umm… what? Also, for some reason, Stewart, Lenore’s current husband seems to have de-aged 20 years between Taken 1 and Taken 3, presumably through the powers of voodoo or witchcraft or something:
Xander Berkeley, whom portrayed the rather meek-yet-rich-Stewart, for whatever reason did not play Stewart in the 3rd film. That role has gone to the younger, slimier, “I’m really good at playing a scumbag in other movies” Dougray Scott, and while I have no issue with Scott’s performance, it just always irks me when they re-cast a part, especially when the replacement actor looks nothing like the original. I feel like Berkeley would have been great to reprise his role here, but for whatever reason it was not to be. Also, for some reason it feels like Forest Whitaker eats everything he comes across in the film. I’m not even sure if the script is written that way or if it’s just because Whitaker is a fat-ass.
While I enjoyed the fight scenes, there were a lot of moments I wondered why characters weren’t just using the guns they had instead of hand-to-hand-combat, other than to avoid an R rating. However, the ugliest by far involves a fight where Liam Neeson goes into deadly martial combat against a man who is wearing nothing but tighty-whiteys. This possibly led to one of the most awkward fight scenes I’ve seen in a while and a theater full of people snickering and laughing at the weirdness of the whole thing. I mean who the fuck still wears tighty-whiteys in 2015, and why?
While offering nothing new to write home about, it doesn’t have to – it’s the third in a series of action films which means that unless you’re mentally retarded or have a learning disability you know exactly what to expect because you’ve seen the other two. Don’t listen to a bunch of assclown critics that expect everything to wow them like all five seasons of Breaking Bad combined, listen to ME: This is an action film. Don’t try to make sense of it all, and you’ll be just fine with what you get – Liam Neeson being a badass. You can’t ask for more. Taken as a franchise may not always produce some award-winning film, but Taken is pretty much the Death Wish of our generation. That being said, if you’re an action movie guy who just likes car chases, bullets flying, guns blazing and the hero getting out of situations that there is NO LOGICAL WAY HE COULD DO SO, you’ll love this. Of course we live in a society where there’s probably at least four feminist lunatics complaining about how “weak” Bryan’s daughter Kimmy is and how it offends them. Listen feminists: go lay eggs somewhere. This isn’t for you. This is flat-out TBS-style “movies for guys who like movies.” If you love action films, you shouldn’t have much of a problem. If you go into this expecting fucking Martin Scorsese, you’re retarded and deserve to feel like you wasted $10 and 90 minutes of your life. This film was so fun that I think I’m about to go back, watch the original and write a bonus article to compliment this one chronicling my ten favorite characters from Taken NOT played by Liam Neeson.
I don’t care if the plots are a little loose, I hope Liam Neeson makes like 50 more Taken films.
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