Taken 3 film review: A retired CIA operative who comes out of hibernation
Cast: Liam Neeson, Maggie Grace, Forest Whitaker
Director: Olivier Megaton
A retired CIA operative who comes out of hibernation only when his family is threatened was the starting point of Taken. By the third film, the daughter Kim (Grace) is still holding strong despite the beating she has taken, which is more than can be said about this film.
In Taken 3, Bryan Mills’s (Neeson) ex-wife Lenore is found murdered with him holding the murder weapon. So, as the cops decide to go for him, Bryan does what he does best — go under.
It’s all very unclear as to why he doesn’t give the cops the benefit of the doubt to find the real killers, except that, as is true of films such as this, detective Dotzler (Whitaker) doesn’t inspire any confidence.
And that is despite all the food he thoughtfully munches left behind by the victims or the witnesses concerned — out of even trash cans if you please — and an elastic band he twirls and snaps around his wrist.
So off-key are these film’s priorities that all the cops of the city — Mills’s own backyard rather than an exotic European location — appear to be involved in chasing one man wanted for one murder even as Bryan himself unleashes mayhem completely disproportionate to even his grieving, including setting off panic at his daughter’s college.
Afghanistan, nameless Russian thugs in colourful shirts — and one in unmissably brief briefs — and even waterboarding make their way in.
The takeaway: Taken was successful because Neeson represented an old-world weary heroism that could take down new-world villainy one hand tied. You cheered for him because he wanted nothing other than saving his family. In Taken 3, he only stands for himself and doesn’t seem to care whom all he hurts in the process.
The other takeaway is more useful: Car GPS has never come as handy to solve a crime before, even if the motive ultimately is as ancient as they come.
There is a third takeaway too: There won’t be a Taken 4.