First of all, I’d like to state for the record that I love Liam Neeson. No matter what he does, what kind of crappy movie he’s in, I’d still love him. If he was in a DIAPER commercial, I’d start buying and wearing diapers with no second thought. Liam Neeson brings gravitas to any character he plays, and that includes TAK3N’s Bryan Mills.

But unfortunately, his effortless performance notwithstanding, Taken 3 still had numerous faults that prevented it from becoming the return to form Taken movie that I was hoping for.

Bryan Mills (Liam Neeson) is framed for the murder of his ex-wife, Lenore (Famke Janssen). He escapes custody to try to uncover the truth behind Lenore’s murder and clear his name all whilst avoiding the sharp and relentless detective, Frank Dotzler (Forest Whitaker), who’s fast on his trail.

Sounds a LOT like the premise of the movie The Fugitive by Harrison Ford (the original Liam Neeson). For those who’ve watched that, this movie might be a very pale comparison.

But even with the worn out movie premise, it was fun to see Liam Neeson investigate his own case. In my head, Bryan Mills was BATMAN – working stealthily in the shadows, using awesome spy craft and going through any lengths, even bringing harm to his loved ones, to complete his mission.

The Mills Cave.

It was like watching a procedural crime drama. You can follow Mills’ progress, every step made sense, the motivations and actions of each character were justified, timings lined up, and in the end, all the loose threads tied in together nicely. 

…But I am having a hard time believing Bryan Mills would be able to leave Scott free after all the mayhem, destruction of property, and downright mass murder he committed. And the fact that he got out without as much as a scratch during that hallway scene. 

Also, Forest Whitaker’s Detective Dotzler, had some real potential. He had the makings of someone who could possibly match Mills on an intellectual level. But ultimately, it was just a lot of red herring and the character ends up amounting to nothing but a tool for added suspense. We were hoping that he’d have some value by the end of the movie, like he’d actually do something redemptive for the character by helping in some form, but nope. Nothing. So much for that.

Mr. Could-Have-Been-Cool

The only character who every really shown any development through the past 3 films is Kim (Maggie Grace), Bryan’s daughter. At least, in the course of three abductions, she’s learned to be more level headed and proactive. So kudos, girl!

But the Taken franchise is as much about the ACTION as it is the narrative. But since handing over the reins to Olivier Megaton (Director of 2nd and 3rd installment), things haven’t been the same. Taken 1 never shied from the violence and gore but in this third installment, the action was very noticeably dialed down. And the PG, bloodless action hurt the movie (much more than it did the bad guys).

The shitty editing didn’t help either. There were too many cuts and angles for a single movement, the shots were all shaky, everything was just really messy and painful to watch! I mean that literally. My eyes HURT from trying to follow the movements! 

We WANT to see Neeson kick ass but the terrible editing made it hard to appreciate it. He was Qui-Gon Jin, Ra’s Al Ghul, and freaking Zeus! You’d do well not to underestimate him.

I don’t want to say that the Taken franchise is going out on a very low note, because part of me still believes it’s redeemable (and WANTS it to be redeemed). If the franchise went back to its roots – a simple plot minus all the nauseating visual flashiness, Liam Neeson, and a whole shit load of physical violence and badassery – Taken can be really good again. So here’s hoping a T4KEN will happen, one that can wash off the bad taste this last installment has left in my mouth.

If nothing else, Taken 3 was a good spy movie. The action may not be as good as the first one, but at least we still see Liam Neeson kick a little butt. It wasn’t a BAD movie. But it’s really nothing memorable, leaving you incredibly underwhelmed. You’re better off re-watching The Fugitive or Taken 1. Taken 3 (or TAK3N) didn’t live up to the hype of being the final chapter of what started out as a very strong title. 


*First seen on The Philippine Online Chronicles! 


  1. This is a film worth downloading for the next couple of months.