Liam Neeson returns as Bryan Mills, that ex-operative with (do I even need to write it) a particular set of skills. In this most likely last installment to the Taken franchise, we find Mills pursued by the LAPD for his wife’s murder.
[Warning: there may be spoilers ahead]
Reminiscent of The Fugitive and Frantic, Mills attempts to find the killer on his own, instead of cooperating with the police. Though there are very intelligent moments with this film, you have to question that ending. I’m pretty certain the police don’t just let you off that easily after everything that took place.
Like in the previous Taken movies, there are plenty of elaborate chases and high-energy hand-to-hand fights. Unfortunately, the film used too many jump-cuts in those sequences. Granted this jumpiness helps audience see the speed and power of the action, but ultimately, it made me dizzy and lost. I was also disappointed by the occasional plot misfires (like using classic bad guy mistakes, the hero escaping at the last minute, and police stereotypes)? This franchise doesn’t need to have homages to other action films. In fact, I’m expecting that future franchises will be paying their respects to this one.
I enjoyed the father/daughter relationship again in this story though. It was the primary motivator within the first movie, so it was fitting to have it bookend the story here. I also enjoyed seeing Mills’ old team in full action, though it may have taken a bit away for Bryan’s badass persona. Ultimately, this film was bittersweet for me, because I finally got to see Bryan and Lenore potentially reconcile, but then to have her killed off in the beginning…well…sucked. And oh…I always hated Stuart.
[End of potential spoilers]
Along with the Neeson (whose performance was terrific), we find Maggie Grace reprising her role as Kim Mills. Her character has matured over the course of the franchise, and I feel that Grace has been able to keep up with those changes in a very believable fashion. Famke Janssen also returns as Kim’s mother Lenore. I’ve always been a fan of Janssen, and despite her short appearance here, she did not disappoint me. I’m really pleased to have Forest Whitaker in the film though. Whitaker’s Franck Dotzler was quirky, smart, and empathic. He was easily one of my favorite characters in this film. Rounding out the cast of notable characters is Stuart St. John, Lenore’s current husband (the role originally played by Xander Berkeley, but played by Dougray Scott).
As you can tell, I really liked the acting in this film. I also enjoyed the music. The score was decent and appropriate for the movie, but the songs at the beginning and end of the films were outstanding. The smooth and electric sound really matched the tone of the movie well, and I would have preferred having more of that in the film.
I give Taken 3 a 2.75 out of 5.