Liam Neeson once again pulls off an action-heavy role in Taken 3 — the last installment in the Taken trilogy — but with an unfamiliar task this time. Unlike its predecessors, the movie doesn’t revolve around a kidnapping plot; instead it centres on solving a murder.
Although Neeson gets a lot of flak for his age, the 62-year-old continues to give awe-inspiring performances in most action-thriller movies. And for the most part, his performance in Taken 3 is no different. The trigger-happy protagonist, Bryan Mills, upholds his image as the lethally protective family man by avenging the murderer of his ex-wife Lenore (Famke Janseen) and in the process clears his own name.
The story, however, is predictable and for the most part an exhausting watch. While Bryan manages to evade capture by the police, he retraces Lenore’s footsteps just prior to her murder and ascertains that a few unidentified men had abducted his ex-wife. His next step is to protect his daughter Kim from being taken hostage by the police while he traces Lenore’s murderers. The movie is also riddled with a number of bloopers and exaggerated scenes, especially the one in which Neeson’s Porsche smashes into the jet without sustaining any damage and when Lenore’s scar heals while her body is kept in a morgue.
While the twist in the film’s plot is a letdown for loyal Taken fans, the film’s casting directors made a good decision by bringing familiar faces on board along with first-timer Forest Whitakar who plays the role of a police inspector tasked with tracking down Neeson. The movie’s other saving grace is that it is no longer shot in mucky European locations; it is set in Los Angeles and Covington and principally photographed in Atlanta, giving audiences a much-needed change of scene.
Additionally, director Olivier Megaton ensures high-action scenes in Taken 3 instead of long drawn-out and overly dramatised ones. The movie’s pace is, therefore, incredibly fast. The editing is also tight making this 109-minute film a bearable watch.
Despite its many setbacks, Taken 3 is likely to do well at the box office because of its star power and the fact that it has less competition from other recent releases. It is a must-watch action-thriller for moviegoers even if one hasn’t watched the previous two installments since it has very little in common with them. And although the film’s tagline ‘it ends here’ promises to bring the franchise to an end after a period of six years, the conclusion leads the audiences to believe that the moviemakers aren’t quite done milking this franchise for every remaining penny.
Published in The Express Tribune, Sunday Magazine, February 1st, 2015.
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