Just the other day, I was just saying how cool it would be to see a showdown of Keanu Reeves’ John Wick and Liam Neeson’s Bryan Mills and now, I am doing this review of the third installment of Taken, the franchise that catapulted Neeson into action stardom.
We’ve seen Bryan Mills, a retired CIA agent “with a particular set of skills” save his daughter Kim (Maggie Grace) from a powerful prostitution ring. We’ve seen him save his wife and his daughter from the relatives of said crime syndicate who wanted to get revenge on him after he decimated the members of the said group which included the infamous Marko from Tropoje. In this final installment to the franchise, Mills is framed for the death of his annoying wife Lenore (Famke Janssen) and his daughter is again in danger of suffering the same fate if Bryan doesn’t find out who did it and why they wanted him to take the heat for the crime.
Despite the fact that the same team worked on this final film in the trilogy (Olivier Megaton and Luc Besson), something felt different about Taken 3 straight off the bat. First, it was less intense. The air of danger wasn’t as urgent as the first two because come on, no one would seriously think that Bryan Mills could be taken by a few patrolmen, or detectives, heck even a fleet of law enforcement officers. He took down an ENTIRE CRIME SYNDICATE SINGLEHANDEDLY. Just saying.
Perhaps, it was because the grudge that made the first two movies so successful wasn’t there anymore or perhaps it was because the third film wasn’t doing anything we haven’t seen before. But this weaker storyline truly made the movie suffer in comparison to its predecessors.
There was also a noticeably lower body count, perhaps owing to the fact that the characters were now on American soil, making it really weird if Bryan walked off scott free after all the mayhem. Oh wait, — nah. I wouldn’t want to spoil you.
On the upside, what was consistent from the first movie remained as its main strength — the chemistry between Mills and his daughter Kim. These two play off each other like a real father and daughter and each line that Neeson says pertaining to his on-screen offspring is delivered with such conviction that audiences can truly relate to his plight.
All in all, while I personally celebrated the fact that the wife was finally killed off, I think Taken 3 suffered from the fact that people had set higher expectations for Bryan Mills because of the first two movies, which was the opposite of what happened before (people having no expectation and being blown away by the first Taken). This time around, they expected Bryan Mills to be a badass and as such, he had to perform well and beyond his previous films to impress the viewers. But the tepid plot and the shallow storyline only gave him so much wiggle room. And no matter how great an actor Neeson was, the story negated what could have been a kickass conclusion to the series and in the end, it seemed more perfunctory than epic. It was’t too bad, it was just subpar in terms of the standards set by the franchise. A bit disappointed.