Review: TAKEN 3 (2015) | Casey's Movie Mania | Movie Reviews, Features & Others

Friday, 9 January 2015

Review: TAKEN 3 (2015)

Despite the worthwhile presences of Liam Neeson and Forest Whitaker, TAKEN 3 is a disappointingly formulaic sequel ruined by Olivier Megaton's insipid direction.

Here we go again -- another TAKEN movie that shouldn't be bothered at all. After all, the second movie in 2012 was an unnecessary sequel that failed miserably to replicate the original 2008 version. Even though TAKEN 2 was heavily criticised, the movie still managed to make a lot of money at the box office. But thanks to the profitable box office result, a third movie in the franchise is bound to happen one way or another. 


In this third movie, ex-CIA operative Bryan Mills (Liam Neeson) is being framed for the murder of his ex-wife, Lenore (Famke Janssen). He ends up becoming a fugitive on the run to evade arrest from LAPD, led by Inspector Frank Dotzler (Forest Whitaker), while trying to clear his name and finds out the truth.

Age may have been catching up pretty fast for Liam Neeson, but at 62, he still managed to prove his worth reprising his most famous action role one last time in the TAKEN franchise. His signature no-nonsense persona matches well with Forest Whitaker, who provides an equally strong support as Inspector Frank Dotzler. In the meantime, it's nice to see Dougray Scott making a comeback to the big screen as Lenore's troubled wealthy husband, Stuart after spending years working in multiple TV series.

Despite the numerous fight sequences, foot chase, car chase, shootouts and a supposedly exciting conclusion involving Bryan Mills tries to take out a private plane with a Porsche, it's hard for me to single out a memorable moment at all since they are all ruined by poorly choreographed action set-pieces.

Eschewing the usual kidnapping plot that characterised the first two movies, it's rather odd to see screenwriters Luc Besson and Robert Mark Kamen shifted focus to THE FUGITIVE-like storytelling template. While it may look like a refreshing change of pace, they seem to forget the very meaning for the title of TAKEN. In fact, what is the point of making a third TAKEN movie where nobody in the plot is taken or kidnapped this time around? Not only the central plot involving Bryan Mills becomes a fugitive on the run is irrelevant to the title, it also looks as if the movie is desperately made because of the popular brand-name sake.

As proven in TAKEN 2, director Olivier Megaton repeats the same mistake again of shooting all the overly-edited action sequences with epilepsy-like camerawork. The fight scenes are especially frustrating enough to enjoy properly.

Some of the returning cast, such as Famke Janssen and Maggie Grace, are both wasted with their thankless performances. Sam Spruell, who appears as the main Russian mafioso Malankov, is nothing more than a standard-issue villain.


As the tagline that appears in the TAKEN 3 poster loudly proclaimed "It Ends Here", I sure hope this third movie will be the last in the series.

* This review is written courtesy from 20th Century Fox Malaysia press screening *

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