Sun. Nov 17th, 2019

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Film Review – Taken 3

3 min read

“I will find you…and we both know what’s going to happen.” We all know, mate. We all know. And despite the cheese, as fans, we secretly love it.

Liam Neeson reprises his role as Bryan Mills, ex-covert special forces operative and unluckiest dude on the planet in the third instalment of Taken and nobody can escape the famous lines.

Part of me wants to be insulted by a third instalment of this franchise but the other part of me just can’t get enough of Bryan Mills and his particular set of skills. Let’s face it; if you were taken, you’d want Bryan Mills on your team.

Let it be clear, no one really gets taken in this film. Obviously the filmmakers realised that a third instalment where someone gets taken would not fly and would only be insulting to the audience and the characters so this one focuses on Mills being wrongly accused of murder. Some may argue this plot line is still insulting and if you’ve seen the preview you’ll know who Mills is accused of killing. It’s basically Taken meets The Fugitive, except in this case, the accused is a bad-ass ex-spy with a particular set of skills that we’ve come to know and love, and plenty of ex-special forces connections at his disposal.

Kim (Maggie Grace) returns as Mills’ petulant daughter, Famke Janssen reprises her role as ex-wife Lenore, and Forest Whitaker is a welcome breath of fresh air as the somewhat conflicted detective on Mills’ trail. There is a casting change in this film, the role of Stuart St John, Lenore’s new husband and Maggie’s pseudo-stepdad is no longer played by Xander Berkeley with Dougray Scott (Ever After: a Cinderella story, My Week with Marilyn) stepping in.

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While it’s not a stinker, it’s nothing new either but if you’ve seen the previous two films it’s safe to say you know what you’re getting yourself into. The plot is rather implausible but Mills’ very particular set of skills does provide a few surprises and thanks to the first film you really do care about him and his family. However, he’s so good at what he does that you never really believe he’s in that much danger here, which kills the tension a bit.

While the performances are all good, it is Neeson who carries this film. It is indeed Neeson who carries all of them. Even Neeson himself initially refused to do any sequels to the original 2008 film concerned that any further films would just be a pointless rehashing of the original. But producers managed to twist both his arms into conceding to Taken 2 and Taken 3 and while Taken 3 won’t be winning any Oscars, it’s still a lot of fun to watch.

To be fair, I would watch people get taken and Liam Neeson rescue them for ten more instalments so in that sense I am definitely biased, however, this film is not a terrible one. Yes, there are some cheesy reprisals of familiar lines from the first two films and the subject matter is not breaking any new ground. You’ll also probably be able to predict where the film is going from the opening credits. But it’s fun, unafraid to poke a little fun at itself and the film moves at a brisk enough pace to keep the audience interested.

All in all Taken 3 holds its own – just. And for those of you groaning at the possibility of a fourth instalment, never fear, the tagline promises; it all ends here.

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