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Friday, 9 January 2015

Taken 3

Every franchise has a particular life span.  A lot of it is dependent on consistency.  But a significant factor of longevity is also, "What is different this time around"? Taken 3 scores low on both counts.  The similarity ends with the characters from the Paris and Istanbul editions.

There is a significant departure from the basic premise. It is not a story of someone being kidnapped OR Taken to begin with. So it may as well have been called by another name like Non-Stop or Unknown or A Walk Among Tombstones. It is a genre of movies that has been formed over the past 5-6 years.  It is a genre called Liam Neeson.

The third and final installment (as the posters proclaim) finishes as a meek attempt to squeeze everything possible from the audience that had lapped up the earlier editions of this franchise.  Regrettably they do not get the formula right and have given it a less than memorable send off (provided they do not go back on their word).

Taken 3 gets off the blocks very slowly with Bryan Mills (Neeson) bringing a giant panda ūüźľ as a birthday gift for his daughter Kim (Maggie Grace). The Hindi music in the background seemed as out of place as the panda itself. Bryan's hope of surprising his daughter falls flat. He finds a shoulder in his ex-wife Lenore (Famke Jenssen) who is having some trouble with her marriage to Stuart St. John (Dougaray Scott).

In fact, Stuart goes onto ask Bryan to not speak to Lenore any more. Bryan obliges only to receive a message from Lenore the next morning to meet over bagels. The good ex-husband that Bryan is, he walks across to pick bagels only to return to Lenore's cold body with a slit throat. The chase then begins.

The slow build up is compensated with some great chases soon after. First on foot with some exhibition of Parkour thrown in for garnish (it has become mandatory these days).  It then moves onto a frenetic car chase on the freeway which is in typical Taken fashion.  But that’s all you will get to keep you happy.

There are some classy dialogues in between that keep the audience entertained.  Liam Neeson excels in the dialogue delivery but does look a tad jaded and probably bored of reprising the same role over and over again.  The support cast is as good as furniture.  Really nothing exciting in the acting department per se.

Oliver Megaton has great action flicks to his credit like Transporter 3, Colombiana and even Taken 2.  But even with such solid backing behind him, Megaton struggles to put up a respectable showing with Taken 3.  I think the franchise had just run out of steam.  Watchable on TV.  5 on 10.  Disappointing end to the series.

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