by Noel T. Manning II
When Story Fails, Action and Entertainment Prevail
When former CIA operative Bryan Mills (Liam Neeson) is accused of a murder he didn’t commit, he becomes a fugitive on the run, trying to solve the murder, while keeping one step ahead of the brilliant detective Dotzler (Forest Whitaker) who his hot on his trail. Throw a pregnant daughter in the mix, and some unsavory characters attempting to break up the family (in more ways than one), and you have all the makings of another espionage slugfest in the film “Taken 3”.
This third installment of the successful action franchise rips off the storyline from the popular 1960s TV series “The Fugitive” (which was later made into a blockbuster film with Harrison Ford). 62 year-old Neeson is an action star worth noting, and here he shines again, as a man you wouldn’t want to get angry (a battle between him and “The Hulk” would be interesting). Throughout the “Taken” trilogy, we’ve come to get a closer look at the man behind the guns, fists, and intellect, and at the root of each film, we see a man fighting for his family. While his career path, and particular skills do come in handy in times of dire straits, they also provide reasons for each of the franchise’s antagonists to disrupt Bryan’s life… by any means necessary.
The original film played it simple – a man travels half way around the world to find his kidnapped daughter and take out anything in his path along the way. “Taken 2” flips the story around with Bryan serving as the captive, while this third installment offers a series of subplots, and unnecessary twists that dilute the beauty and simplistic nature of the original. Yet, even with the weak story, this film still finds a way to entertain with excellent action sequences, brilliant fight choreography, and engaging characters and cinematography. It is not the best of the trilogy, but it fulfills a fitting wrap up with the characters we’ve come to know and love over the course of the franchise.
If you’re looking for an entertaining action piece to take you a way from your life’s problems for a while, this may be your remedy. But if you’re searching for originality, and thought provoking cinema, you may want to skip this one.
“Taken 3” is rated PG-13 for action, violence, and language.
Report Card Grades
Story = C-
Characters – B
Action Sequences – A
Actors/Casting – A-
Sound Design/Music – B
Entertainment Factor – A
Editing – B
Cinemascene Final Report Card = B