The Taken (now a) Trilogy, has had its ups and downs – the first film a modern action classic with tones of Death Wish and a dash of Commando. You had epic strong, gut wrenching action thriller with at its core a fathers love – a father who happens to be Bryan Mills, a ex CIA black ops agent! Handy !
The first film was a sleeper hit – that ignited what was missing from modern action – a believable hero, a plot and jeopardy.
The follow up, Taken 2 was a straight forward sequel – with some week plot ideas but all in all an enjoyable romp of a sequel – which at its core was a revenge film. Those Mills killed to get his daughter back – well there family come for blood.
Now we come to the tough job of making a third film – when realistic the second film – felt like a part 2 of a two part story, if film one was taken action, film two was the consequences of those actions Mills took. So where does the Taken story go from there ?
Well thankfully – no one is taken, and Mills doesn't have to get them back or its not tied directly to the events of the first film. Taken 3 is only linked to the other films by the characters and the name itself. Which is great start.
The film is unlike the other two set completely in Los Angeles – given this third film a fresh feel visually as the others were set in Paris and Budapest. Not a spoiler the plot revolves around Mills framed for the murder of his Ex wife once again played by Famke Janssen. This is a Taken meets the fugitive story. Not very original but if you enjoyed the original Taken you will go along with the ride.
Neeson is good in the role now owned by him, cold, professional warrior and the front folds when he's with his daughter and the grieve shines through. Forrest Whitaker here in a supporting role as the Police Inspector who is after him – he gives a quirky character that could of early just played straight. Also its great to have in this third instalment – Mills' old Ex CIA friends helping him as a team.
The good – strong performances by Neeson, Whittaker's quirky police officer, Maggie Grace as long suffering Daughter! The premise serves well as a final chapter – please be a final chapter!
The bad – the sound mix is terrible – I only hope this gets sorted in time for home release. The 12a rating – again, tired of cutting away from action and having to deal with a watered down follow up to a Cert 18 original film! The villains of this film are card board cut outs and the recasting of the step father Stuart from original actor in Taken Xander Berkeley to the miss-casting of Dougray Scott! Who yes is a good actor but here he's a plate of smoked ham!
All in all enjoyable action film – does what it says on the tin. Taken 3 – don't expect the glory of the original – expect the same level as part 2. This is what it is – another adventure with Mills a great action character and Liam Neeson doing a sterling job. It isn't as bad as the press are slating it, it is fun and gives us a final curtain bow to a great character and a trilogy to enjoy. But lets leave this alone now.
Rhys 3 out of 5